The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) : A Message from
the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of
Human Rights in the DPRK
1 December 2009
Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the DPRK, welcomes warmly the UPR and its engagement with the DPRK. This process offers an important opportunity to share the information concerning the human rights situation in the country, drawn from a variety of sources. It opens the door to a timely dialogue between the authorities of the DPRK and the world community on pivotal human rights issues, with implications for the livelihood of people in the country and for international peace and security.
The Special Rapporteur recalls that the mandate of this UN Special Rapporteur was established by the UN in 2004, and under its purview, annually he submits one report to the UN Human Rights Council, and another to the UN General Assembly. This mandate is part of the system of UN Special Procedures which assesses and reviews a variety of situations and countries faced with major human rights challenges. This system is complementary to the UPR and provides a “value added” in that it is based upon independent experts, acting pro bono, to help promote and protect human rights worldwide. Its emphasis on defending human rights is premised upon the need to access vulnerable groups, the prevention of transgressions, and the provision of international protection in the absence of national protection.
The Special Rapporteur invites the international community to underline the range of recommendations in his reports and to highlight his call for efficacious implementation of human rights in the country concerned. In particular, an effective response is awaited in regard to the following issues:
- to facilitate humanitarian aid to groups in need of assistance in the country (with adequate monitoring) and to promote food security for sustainable development, bearing in mind the responsibility of the authorities to allocate resources equitably to attend to the needs of the population , and to enable the population to earn their livelihood without superimposition ;
- to end sanctions imposed by the authorities on persons who try to leave the country , as well as on those who are sent back to the country , in their quest for asylum/shelter elsewhere ;
- to modernise the prison system, to foster the humane treatment of all groups, and to resolve satisfactorily transgressions affecting other countries ;
- to seek technical assistance from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the promotion and protection of human rights;
-to cooperate with the UN Special Rapporteur, to open the door to his visits, and to engage with the various human rights committees under the treaties to which the country is a party.
The interactive dialogue and ensuing recommendations from the UPR will thus offer a welcome space for constructive inputs, incentives and influences based on international human rights standards, with the anticipation and expectation of adequate follow-up, interlinking with the totality of the UN system.