Yesterday Australian judge Michael Kirby, who chaired the United Nations Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations in North Korea, delivered a blisteringly brilliant presentation of his report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
I could, if I wished to be verbose, rehearse and reiterate the litany of horrors assessed by Justice Kirby's inquiry, and also documented by human rights Non-Governmental Organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, and witnessed by survivors of the North Korean gulag. But I won't. It's all there, if you google - in the COI report, testimony after testimony, in human rights' organisations' reports, in numerous media reports, in some superb books, particularly Blaine Harden's Escape from Camp 14 and Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy. No need for me to write more. Just read. And then act.
It is heart-warming that the European Union, including the United Kingdom, and Japan, have endorsed the Commission of Inquiry's recommendations, backed a referral to the International Criminal Court or some other appropriate international justice mechanism, and are willing finally to take a stand. What we, citizens of the world, must do now is support those governments who have expressed a will to act, encourage them to turn rhetoric into reality, and bring the tyrants in Pyongyang to justice. A new Early Day Motion in the House of Commons should help, and we should urge all our Members of Parliament to sign. Our task is to turn Kim Jong-Un into Kim Jong-Nil - and bring an end to the decades of misery which the North Korean people have endured, unheard for too long. To the people of North Korea we can say at last: the world hears you. I hope we can also say: at last, the world is taking action. The task is in our hands. If ever the phrase Cape Diem meant anything, it is today.