UN Member States must hold North Korea responsible for its massive human rights abuses

Open Letter

(New York) In a letter addressed to the Security Council today, human rights groups urged Member States to hold another formal session on the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK) before the end of the year.

Our organizations recall that the North Korean regime must be held accountable for its large-scale human rights abuses in order to alleviate the mass human suffering there.

In February 2014, a UN Commisson of Inquiry (COI) found evidence of summary executions, enforced disappearances, and the use of prison camps for prisoners accused of “political disloyalty” to the regime. Due to the scale and systematic nature of such crimes, the COI report found that these violations meet the threshold for crimes against humanity and recommended that the situation in DPRK be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Noting that impunity for such crimes must not stand, the General Assembly reiterated the COI’s recommendation to refer DPRK to the ICC in a resolution last year. Similarly, the Special Rapporteur further called on the international community to “step up efforts to protect the population” of the DPRK and “hold the government accountable for those gross violations.”

Consistent pressure from the UN system is vital in order to bring about human rights reforms in the DPRK. The victims are urgently awaiting action from the international community.

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