Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called Friday for a UN commission to examine human rights abuses in North Korea [press release]. The rights group stated that little has changed within the totalitarian government since Kim Jong-un [BBC profile] succeeded his father Kim Jong-il [BBC obituary] in leading the country one year ago. HRW stated the situation may be getting worse, noting a drop in the number of individuals escaping into China and reports by successful escapees of increasing crackdowns on escape attempts. The rights group also noted a recent UN report [press release] citing widespread malnutrition and hunger in the country. HRW called on the UN to create a commission of inquiry to investigate human rights abuses in the country:
For more than 60 years, successive regimes have killed or starved millions, and the world has done little in response. No one should labor under the misperception that the regime can be influenced by negotiation, and reformed in some traditional sense. Only coordinated outside pressure has a chance to make an impact. Recording, exposing, condemning and calling for accountability for serious abuses may lead some in the regime to realize that there are potential costs to their behavior.HRW said a UN resolution will only pass with the support of the nations of the European Union, as well as South Korea, Japan and the US. The rights group called on those nations to voice support for a UN investigation of human rights in North Korea.
North Korea has faced ongoing international criticism for human rights violations. In November the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Marzuki Darusman expressed concern over the lack of development in human rights in the nation, despite having called [JURIST reports] on new leader Kim Jong-un last January to improve the situation. In June the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) [advocacy website] reported that North Korea's caste system [JURIST report] leads to abuses and human rights violations in the country. Darusman also criticized [JURIST report] the nation's human rights record in November 2011, focusing on the treatment of prisoners.