Members of UN-mandated probe into human rights abuses in DPR Korea announced


[This announcement was published by the United Nations News Service on 7 May 2013. –CanKor]

President of the Human Rights Council Remigiusz A. Henczel (right) and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. (Photo by Violaine Martin)

President of the Human Rights Council Remigiusz A. Henczel (right) and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. (Photo by Violaine Martin)

The President of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Remigiusz A. Henczel, today announced the appointment of the members of the commission of inquiry set up to investigate alleged abuses in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The three-member commission will comprise Michael Donald Kirby, a retired judge from Australia; Sonja Biserko, founder and president of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia; and Marzuki Darusman, former Attorney General of Indonesia and the current UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in DPRK.

Mr. Kirby will serve as Chair of the commission, which was established by the Geneva-based Council in March, for a period of one year, to investigate the “systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights” in DPRK in order to ensure full accountability, in particular for violations which may amount to crimes against humanity.

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and several independent UN human rights experts had been calling for an inquiry into serious crimes that have been persistent in DPRK for decades.

According to a news release on the appointments, the violations to be investigated include those pertaining to the right to food, as well as with prison camps, torture and inhuman treatment, arbitrary detention, discrimination, freedom of expression, the right to life, freedom of movement, and enforced disappearances, including in the form of abductions of nationals of other States.

The 47-member Council had also urged Pyongyang to ensure full, rapid and unimpeded access of humanitarian assistance and for the Government to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur and the commission of inquiry.

The commission has been requested to present an oral update to the Council at its 24th session in September 2013 and to the General Assembly at its 68th session, and a written report to the Council at its 25th session in March 2014.

One Response to “Members of UN-mandated probe into human rights abuses in DPR Korea announced”

  1. Victor Hsu Says:

    This human rights probe will not go anywhere without the cooperation of the DPRK. It is a shame that the action of the HRC went ahead instead of taking a painstaking process of engaging with the DPRK. Outside the 6-party talks there has been virtually no engagement with the DPRK on such issues as human rights and refugees. The EU and the HRC have not presented a strategy of effective engagement. Instead, they seem to be taking the easy way out of exerting political pressure by making reports and setting up mechanism without the involvement of the DPRK. The multilateral organizations have a responsibility to engage the DPRK in a responsible way by recognizing the DPRK as a legitimate state and therefore giving it the due respect that it has duties and responsibilities to implement human rights and fundamental freedoms. No outside organization can perform these tasks. Similarly, throughout the latter quarter of the last century when human rights came to the fore as an international issue, that history demonstrated that external political pressures have not been effective in coercing a sovereign state to “behave.” The international community must find more innovative ways to create a constructive dialogue with the DPRK. It needs to remember that no amount of negative publicity has produced results in the nuclear issue.


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