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UN rights expert: North Korea leader should be held criminally responsible for abuses

[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on North Korea Marzuki Darusman [official profile] called [press release] Friday for leader Kim Jong-un [BBC profile] to be held criminally responsible for the human rights conditions in the nation. While on a five-day mission in Japan, following a recent nuclear test [BBC report] by North Korea, the expert criticized the country for having shown no improvement of its human rights situation two years after he filed a report of the Commission of Inquiry. Darusman called for "international community to step up efforts to engage with the DPRK in human rights dialogue while seeking to ensure accountability." He also noted that relations between Japan and North Korea have been deteriorating due in part to the forced disappearances of Japanese citizens by North Korea. Darusman is nearing the end of his term as an independent expert for the UN, and he has never been granted visitation into North Korea by its government.

The recent nuclear test in North Korea is cause for international concern due to the country's human rights record and instability. In November Japan and the EU circulated [JURIST report] a draft UN resolution condemning North Korea's human rights abuses and encouraging the UN Security Council to refer the country to the International Criminal Court [official website], noting reports of torture, limits on freedom of mobility, restrictions on freedom of speech, restrictions on freedom of religion, privacy infringement, arbitrary imprisonment, prison camps and more. Darusman expressed deep concerns [JURIST report] regarding human rights violations in the country just a month earlier. In November 2014 Darusman said that there is enough evidence to hold Kim responsible for "massive" human rights atrocities [JURIST report] committed in the country. In response to these concerns, the UN in June opened a new office [JURIST report] in Seoul to specifically monitor human rights in North Korea.

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