Marzuki Darusman, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in North Korea, stated on Friday in a press conference prior to his General Assembly briefing that there has been no improvement in human rights in North Korea over the last eight months.
“I continue to be concerned with both the human rights and humanitarian situation in the country,” Mr. Darusman told the press conference. He has made repeated requests to the regime since his appointment in August 2010 to be allowed access to the country. All requests have been denied.
Mr. Darusman discussed the detrimental impact of the regime’s military-first policy on citizens. He urged the regime to rethink its policies and to redistribute military spending to citizens to help stimulate growth and improve living conditions in North Korea.
The Special Rapporteur continued by giving an assessment of the regime’s human rights record over the last few months. He stated that, “Overall, during this reporting period, there was no sign of improvement in the human rights situation in the DPRK.” He discussed at some length the Japanese and South Korean abductee issue before saying that he had to follow up with the two states on whether they wished to pursue a legal prosecution against the regime. Several other prominent human rights issues were talked about during the press conference.
While acknowledging that he is not mandated to set-up a Commission of Inquiry, he said that, “I wish to call on States and the international community to undertake a comprehensive review of the relevant documents, to assess the underlying patterns and trends, and to consider setting up a more detailed mechanism of inquiry.”