Responding to North Korea: in conversation with Michael Kirby and Gareth Evans



In October, CPD was proud to once again partner with ANU to host a unique conversation between two of Australia’s most distinguished and influential experts on law, international relations and human rights: Professor the Honourable Gareth Evans, AC QC, and the Honourable Michael Kirby, AC CMG. Our two speakers were joined at ANU House in Melbourne by guests from diplomatic and policy community and media to discuss the topic ‘responding to North Korea’.

This is an issue close to both Michael and Gareth’s hearts as long-term and passionate advocates for protection of human rights both domestically and internationally. In addition to being one of Australia’s longest serving Foreign Ministers, Gareth Evans was President of the International Crisis Group and Co-Chair of the United Nations Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. Michael Kirby, a former Australian High Court Justice, led the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea.

The Commission called for urgent action by the international community to address North Korea’s decades-long pursuit of policies that “shock the conscience of humanity”. Needless to say, Gareth and Michael have a unique vantage point and perspectives on the human rights, security and diplomatic problems presented by North Korea, and on the wider international architecture and agenda for advancing human rights and non-proliferation.

The Responding to North Korea conversation was moderated by CPD Research Committee Chair and international security expert Jeni Whalan as part of the Effective Government Program. It focused on strategies for addressing these grave human rights abuses, and the complex diplomatic interplay between the human rights agenda and international efforts to curb the growing nuclear ambitions and capabilities of Kim Jong-un’s regime. Gareth and Michael offered valuable and at times different perspectives on how these two crucial diplomatic and humanitarian agendas could be prioritised and reconciled.

Quotes from the Responding to North Korea conversations:

Responding to North Korea

It was an honour to facilitate the discussion on Responding to North Korea and we thank the Honourable Gareth Evans and the Honourable Michael Kirby for sharing their wisdom and expertise, and a joke or two between old friends. We thank ANU House in Melbourne for co-hosting this enlightening discussion and look forward to working with them on future events.