Rights abuses in DPR Korea may amount to crimes against humanity – UN expert

Special Rapporteur Marzuki Darusman. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

11 March 2013 – Many of the systematic patterns of human rights violations documented in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) may constitute crimes against humanity, an independent United Nations expert said today.

In his statement to the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, Marzuki Darusman, said his latest report identified nine patterns of violation in the country, some of which amount to crimes against humanity.

The nine patterns are: violation of the right to food; torture; arbitrary detention; violations of human rights associated with prison camps; discrimination; extensive violation of freedom of expression; violation of the right to life; restrictions on freedom of movement; and enforced disappearances.

“I believe that many, if not all, of the nine patterns of violation, identified in my present report, may amount to crimes against humanity, committed as part of systematic and/or widespread attacks against civilian population,” Mr. Darusman told the Council.

His latest report to the Council provides a comprehensive overview of the human rights situation in the country since the inception of his mandate in 2004.

The Special Rapporteur said that while compiling the information for the report had not been easy due to the absence of independent monitors and media and the lack of cooperation of the Government, he stressed that the findings are credible and consistent, and highlight the need to set up a more detailed mechanism of inquiry.

“The international community, through the United Nations, has the responsibility to launch an independent and impartial inquiry into a situation, where there are grounds to believe that crimes against humanity are being committed and the country concerned fails to carry out effective independent and impartial inquiries itself,” he said.

“While usually not sufficient in and by itself to end crimes against humanity, increased scrutiny by international inquiry affords a measure of protection, especially when coupled with the prospect of future criminal investigations and the deterrent effect such a prospect may have on individual perpetrators.”

Mr. Darusman added that the inquiry should examine the issues of institutional and personal accountability for such violations, and make appropriate recommendations to the authorities of DPRK and the international community for further action.

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