UN human rights special rapporteur on North Korea Marzuki Darusman met again with North Korean diplomats on Wednesday to discuss a possible upcoming visit to the country to examine alleged human rights abuses.
Darusman met with four North Korean diplomats on Monday and was reportedly invited to visit the country. The diplomats had requested the removal of any mention of North Korean leaders being tried by the International Criminal Court from the resolution, Darusman said.
Regarding the second meeting, Darusman said “nothing had been decided” about a possible trip, and that North Korea again requested the removal of any mention of an ICC referral from the resolution.
The resolution, drawn up by the European Union and Japan, is largely based on the UN Commission of Inquiry report from earlier this year detailing extensive North Korean human rights violations. The resolution in its current form states that crimes against humanity have been carried out due to “policies at the highest level of the State.”
It further recommends the referral of North Korea to the ICC for crimes against humanity for the upcoming UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, focusing on human rights.
The resolution appears to have touched a nerve in Pyongyang, particularly concerning the culpability of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, in human rights abuses.
In a recent interview with Voice of America, Jong Il Hoon, head of North Korea’s UN delegation in New York, said it is “really hard for us to stand by” while “they talk that way about our supreme leadership.”
Experts say there is a high probability Darusman could visit North Korea.
“North Korea invited Darusman to North Korea in order to block Kim Jong-un’s referral to the ICC,” said Oh Gyeong-seob, a North Korea expert at the Sejong Institute near Seoul. “There is a good chance that this visit will take place.”
But Oh expressed caution about how fruitful such a visit would be, saying North Korean authorities would likely not allow Darusman to enter any political prison camps or imprisonment facilities.
“North Korea will only allow him to visit facilities set up for exhibition, and won’t allow facilities where real human rights abuses are happening to be viewed,” Oh said.
North Korea has long denied the existence of political prison camps in the country.
Picture: UN Geneva, Flickr Creative Commons