[Documents menu] Documents menu

Statement by Head of Delegation of DPRK on World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

Durban, South Africa, 31 August—8 September 2001

Mr. President,

Allow me, first of all, to extend warm congratulations of the delegation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to you, Mr. President, for your election. I would like to also express our deep appreciation to the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Office of High Commissioner for Human rights for their sincere efforts for the preparation of the Conference.

The international community came a long way and made great achievements in its endeavors against racism since the inception of the United Nations.

It is noteworthy that the awareness of the factors, forms and danger of racism has been increased throughout the world and the ways and means to overcome them have been enforced. Legal foundations to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination were laid at the national and international level.

It is indeed of significance to convene this World Conference against Racism in South Africa that was the last victim of the Apartheid until 10 years ago.

Despite great efforts of the international community, racism remains yet in the new forms of discrimination such as xenophobia, domination and all sorts of discrimination and racial prejudice.

Since racism varies in its forms, the new challenges are appealing this conference to take effective measures.

Mr. President,

The delegation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea strongly condemns all forms of racism and racial discrimination as element against human beings and crime against humanity.

We expect this conference to give clear and concrete definition of all forms of racism and racial discrimination. It is only when the target is clear that the methods can be sought.

The key to removing the root cause is to give proper solution to the past history of racism and racial discrimination. The relics of the colonialism in the past lie under contemporary forms of racism and racial discrimination prevailing in several countries. The centuries of colonial era raised the perception in suzerain states that their race and nations are superior and the colonized nations are inferior.

We do not oppose the view of fighting racism with priority to present and future. However, the right view on the future can only be possible when we have right attitude to the past. There will be no future without past and wrong past should not be repeated. The most solid guarantee to avoid repeat of wrong past is in thorough liquidation of the past.

We urge the states that systematically committed the acts of racism and racial discrimination to acknowledge their responsibility and make commitment to repair and compensate the suffered states, communities and individuals.

Mr. President,

The colonial policy pursed by some countries in the past were the most institutionalized and systematic forms of racism. While the most of the countries in African, Latin American and Asian continents had been faced with racial discrimination based on color, Korean people suffered with extreme national discrimination under the Japanese military occupation.

The policies of Japanization of the Korean names and Oneness of Japan and Korea, under which all Koreans were forced to change their names in Japanese and to speak and write only in Japanese, were the most evil policy to eradicate one nation which cannot be found anywhere else in the world history of colonialism.

Six million people out of the whole Korean population of 20 millions were forcibly taken to Japanese army and workplaces in which millions were killed and nearly 200 thousands of women were sexually slaved by Japanese army under the system of so-called comfort women. This figure clearly tells the extent of damage caused to the Korean people by the Japanese discriminatory policy.

Several decades have passed since then and the new century started. But even today Japan persistently refuses to settle the past crime. This stark reality gives rise to concern of the Korean nation and other Asian countries that Japan would repeat the wrong past.

Today in Japan, Korean schoolgirls continue to be attacked by ultra-conservative gangsters for the simple reason that they wear the national costume ’chimachogori’ with the connivance of Japanese government and police. The UN Human Rights Committee and Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged Japan to correct the discrimination policy of Japanese authorities against Koreans residing in Japan when considering the reports on implementation of the International Human Rights Instruments submitted by the Japanese government.

Recently the Japanese authorities revised the history textbooks for middle schools and the Prime Minister visited the Yasukuni Shrine where top-class war criminals of World War II are entombed in an attempt to justify the colonial past and erase the traces of its policy to eradicate the other nation. It enraged the international community.

The Program of Action adopted in 2nd World Conference against Racism called upon all states to examine history textbooks with a view to correcting any erroneous assessment of historical data. The Japanese revision of history textbooks, which is quite contrary to the Program of Action, gives us the lesson that there cannot be elimination of racism by its root without thorough solution of the past.

We strongly urge the government of Japan to liquidate its past stained with racism and aggression and thus remove the source of instability in the region.

Mr. President,

It is also important for the elimination of racism to realize in practice the genuine equity of all races, ethnics and nations.

All races and nations throughout the world are equal. Each race and nation has its own peculiar culture and tradition and has the right to develop its own as it wishes. This clear and universal truth is very often neglected or distorted intentionally or unintentionally. It is essential to create an atmosphere in which all races and their diversities are respected.

In this context we assume that all nations should pay due attention to and improve education among young generations.

It is also important not to permit high handedness and arbitrariness of one country or nation to others, but to promote dialogue and cooperation in the international relations.

Mr. President,

Enhancement of the responsibility and role of government of each country is also important.

In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea all sorts of discriminatory customs generated historically were completely eliminated and thus every person is enjoying full equality in socio-political and economic life. Everyone has a job and all social members benefit from equally distributed wealth. The state establishes and implements all policies on the basis of the man-centered Juche Idea. The politics effected by the great leader General Kim Jong Il is the benevolent politics valuing the human beings and at the same time all-embracing politics not permitting any discrimination.

Mr. President,

We hope that the conference would consider practical measures to further democratize international relationship and improve international economic order on an equal basis in discussing the goals and programs of action to eliminate racism.

The government of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will do its best to eliminate all forms of racism and racial discrimination in full cooperation with international community.

Thank you.