North Korea rights situation continuing to deteriorate: UN investigator News
North Korea rights situation continuing to deteriorate: UN investigator

[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur for North Korea Vitit Muntarbhorn [official profile] said Monday that the North Korean human rights situation is continuing to deteriorate. Presenting his report [text, PDF] to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website], Muntarbhorn noted that any attempt to halt human rights violations in North Korea would require Security Council (SC) [official website] action. The rapporteur also said he has not been admitted to North Korea and has thus relied on reports from UN agencies, concerned rights groups, and refugees in making his assessment. Muntarbhorn also stated that sanctions [Guardian report] imposed on North Korea in an effort to promote denuclearization have fallen short of improving the country's human rights situation. North Korean diplomat Choe Myong Nam rejected [press release] the special rapporteur's allegations.

In October, Muntarbhorn criticized [JURIST report] North Korea for human rights violations. Muntarbhorn said that North Korea was responsible for a broad range of human rights violations [UN press release], including torture, public executions, and widespread hunger. In March 2009, Muntarbhorn told the UNHRC that he found egregious human rights violations [JURIST report] in North Korea. In October 2008, Muntarbhorn urged [JURIST report] North Korea to improve its treatment of prisoners and unsuccessful defectors, as well as to cooperate in locating kidnapped foreign citizens. In January 2008, Muntarbhorn made similar comments during his visit with a special UN envoy to Japan [JURIST report] to assess the impact of the North Korean rights situation on that country. North Korea has frequently been accused of human trafficking, press repression, and "actively committing crimes against humanity" [JURIST report].