COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA URGES UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO MAINTAIN STRONG RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA
October 22, 2018
October 22, 2018 - The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a leading U.S. non-governmental organization with consultative status at the United Nations, today called upon the UN General Assembly to continue to adopt a strong annual resolution on the human rights situation in the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). North Korea’s pursuit of a peace agenda, HRNK declared, has not been matched by steps to improve its human rights record. The finding was confirmed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the DPRK, Tomas Ojea Quintana, whose September 19, 2018 report to the General Assembly found “no substantial changes in the serious human rights situation.”
Given the lack of improvement, HRNK calls for the General Assembly resolution to address:
The continued widespread and systematic crimes against humanity identified by the UN Commission of Inquiry and referenced in last year’s General Assembly resolution, which was adopted by broad consensus.
The political prison camps (kwan-li-so) and the re-education through labor camps (kyo-hwa-so) where tens of thousands of North Korean men, women and children are incarcerated without adequate food or medical care and regularly abused. According to satellite imagery analysis, the camps are expanding. HRNK has identified over twenty potential re-education through labor camps in addition to six operational political prison camps—Nos. 14, 15, 16, 18, 25, plus Choma-bong Restricted Area where a high security perimeter was constructed between 2013 and 2014 coinciding with the execution of Jang Song-thaek and the imprisonment of his colleagues and family members.
The resolution should again urge the Security Council to place the human rights situation on its agenda because of the relationship between the treatment of the North Korean people and the security and stability of the Korean Peninsula. Accountability for those most responsible for crimes against humanity as called for by the 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry report and the General Assembly’s 2017 resolution.
The violation of workers’ rights inside the country, in the prison facilities and when workers are sent overseas. The revenue accrued to the government from forced labor sent abroad helps to enable its continued military and nuclear development.
To make connection with and promote the human rights of the North Korean people, HRNK calls for:
Entry to the DPRK of UN human rights rapporteurs and officials; and
Full access and monitoring for humanitarian actors seeking to address the widespread malnutrition and lack of medical care in the country so as to enable them to reach the most vulnerable, including those in detention facilities.