7 May 2013 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.
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