Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2010-07-08-Speech-4-436"

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"Madam President, the repression of any potential criticism of the established order in North Korea is so strict that no information about any individual dissident or activist is in the public domain. This is the razor-sharp conclusion of an open letter of 14 June which five human rights organisations have addressed to the foreign ministers of the European Union. It is also a measure of how serious the situation is in Kim Jong Il’s famished empire. We do not have the names of any dissidents or activists in the territory of North Korea. That information must be allowed to percolate through to us. The situation there is even incomparable with that in the former Soviet Union or Ceausescu’s Romania. The open letter of 14 June urges European government officials to do a great deal more in response to the relentless violations of the fundamental rights of North Korean citizens, both within and without the boundaries of their country. Various concrete recommendations to this effect may be found in Parliament’s joint resolution. Well done! Let us, for instance, continue to remind China, at all European political levels, of its treaty responsibilities towards North Korean refugees. I also wholeheartedly support paragraph 14 of the resolution. The Commission is protecting the rights of North Korean workers in the Kaesong Industrial Complex by incorporating an unambiguous clause on this point in its Free Trade Agreement with South Korea. Madam President, officially North Korea claims that it guarantees religious freedom to its population of 24 million. In practice, however, anyone who is found distributing bibles or taking part in secret prayer meetings is liable to be sent off to a labour camp or even executed, according to the testimonies of refugees. At the beginning of this month we found out that Son Jong Nam was tortured to death in a North Korean prison for spreading the gospel, the good news, to his fellow countrymen and women. What evidence is there of his crime: 20 bibles and 10 worship tapes? It would appear that this is the thing that the North Korean authorities literally mortally fear."@en1

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