The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in North Korea Tomás Ojea Quintana will visit South Korea for five days from June 17, his sixth visit to the country since March 2016.
According to a press release from the UN Human Rights Council, Quintana will attend numerous meetings during the five-day visit in preparation for his annual report to the General Assembly.
Quintana “will meet with senior members of the South Korean Government, North Korean escapees, representatives of civil society as well as members of the diplomatic community and other stakeholders to understand the current human rights situation in North Korea,” the press release reads.
The UN special rapporteur will also hold a press conference on June 21 in the South Korean capital and “will report his findings and recommendations to the UN General Assembly in October 2019.”
The media advisory also notes that Quintana has not been allowed to visit the DPRK, despite “repeated requests” for access.
North Korea typically reacts negatively to criticism of its human rights record, alleging that is a smear campaign used to bolster support for international sanctions.
The DPRK’s state-owned media often rejects negative accounts of human rights within its borders, usually denouncing it as a “racket”.
“Although the U.S. is making desperate and foolish efforts to bring us down by clinging to the ‘human rights’ racket along with the “maximum pressure” aimed at destroying our system, it should bear in mind that such an attempt will never work against us but instead push us dynamically to a direction where the U.S. does not want to see,” DPRK media said in mid-May.
In its most recent human rights report released in March, the U.S. State Department said the North Korean government had taken “no credible steps to prosecute officials who committed human rights abuses. Impunity continued to be a widespread problem,” in 2018.
The report lists numerous human rights violations in the DPRK, including “unlawful or arbitrary killings by the government; forced disappearances by the government; torture by authorities; arbitrary detentions by security forces; detention centers, including political prison camps in which conditions were often harsh and life-threatening.”
Washington assessment regarding progress in the DPRK also tallies with Quintana’s most recent human rights report published on March 9.
“The human rights situation on the ground remains mostly unchanged and continues to be extremely serious,” the report reads.
“The Special Rapporteur continues to receive reports of the existence of the political prison camps where people are being sent without due process. Torture and ill-treatment reportedly remain widespread and systematic in detention facilities.”
According to the KCNA Watch data tool, on March 10, North Korean media published an article titled “Genuine Rights Are Provided to People” which said the Korean people enjoy “a happy life in the people-centred socialist society, exercising genuine political, social, economic and cultural rights to the full.”
Featured image: UN Web TV