Botswana Dumps North after Damning COI Report

The government of Botswana has terminated diplomatic and
consular relations with North Korea, it has been revealed. The decision to end
links with Pyongyang comes after this week’s publication of the findings of the
UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights abuses by the North Korean
authorities.

A brief statement published on the website of Botswana’s
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation explained, “[Botswana]
wishes
to announce that it has decided to terminate, with immediate effect, diplomatic
and consular relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North
Korea).”

The statement adds that the decision was “informed by the
recently released report of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human
Rights in North Korea which details systematic, widespread and grave human
rights violations by North Korean authorities,” noting, “The Government of
Botswana does not wish to be associated with a Government which continues to
display such total disregard for the human rights of its citizens.”

It goes on to harshly criticize the authorities in
Pyongyang, pointing out that any government is obliged to take responsibility
for the welfare of its people and their human rights, but asserts that this has “been
seriously lacking in that country” for many years.

In a particularly scathing final sentence, the statement
concludes: “Botswana wishes to convey its heartfelt sympathies to the people of
North Korea who are currently subjected to inhuman treatment under the
leadership of Kim Jong Eun.”

The Republic of Botswana is among the most prosperous states of Southern Africa, and home to one of the region’s most entrenched multi-party democracies.

Commenting on the decision by the government of Botswana, a
North Korea expert told Daily NK this morning, “The UN COI report designated
North Korea’s human rights abuses as a crime against humanity, something which
has no small degree of international significance. The South Korean media and
people may underplay this decision by Botswana, but it has meaning.”

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