GENEVA (18 February 2014) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Tuesday welcomed the report of the independent UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which was published in Geneva on Monday, and said “its findings need to be treated with the greatest urgency, as they suggest that crimes against humanity of an unimaginable scale continue to be committed in the DPRK.”
“In January 2013, I urged the international community to put much more effort into tackling the human rights situation of people in DPRK,” Pillay said. “Two months later, the Commission of Inquiry was duly established by the Human Rights Council. It has now published a historic report, which sheds light on violations of a terrifying scale, the gravity and nature of which – in the report’s own words -- do not have any parallel in the contemporary world. There can no longer be any excuses for inaction.”
“Insufficient attention was being paid to the kind of horrific and sustained human rights violations that are reported to be taking place on an ongoing basis in the DPRK,” Pillay said. “That has now been partly rectified. We now need strong international leadership to follow up on the grave findings of the Commission of Inquiry. I therefore call on the international community, in line with the report’s recommendations, to use all the mechanisms at its disposal to ensure accountability, including referral to the International Criminal Court.”
“It is vitally important to maintain the momentum on addressing the serious violations that this remarkable report documents in such a comprehensive manner,” Pillay said. “The spotlight on human rights in the DPRK should not be dimmed as the news headlines fade away.”
The independent Commission of Inquiry is scheduled to formally present its report to the 47 Member States of the Human Rights Council, in Geneva, on 17 March 2014.