The present report is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 71/202 on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It provides an overview of human rights issues in the country from September 2016 to August 2017 and of the Government’s engagement with the United Nations in that regard. Obtaining up-to-date and comprehensive information about human rights developments in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains a challenge owing to the lack of access to the country. However, the information that has been gathered reveals a continuing pattern of serious human rights violations, including with respect to the humanitarian situation. The report provides recommendations to the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the international community to address these endemic issues and to improve the situation of human rights in the country.
1. The present report draws upon findings of the field-based structure of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Seoul and information from the United Nations special procedures of the Human Rights Council and various United Nations entities. Reference is also made to information from official State media in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and international non-governmental organizations.
2. The report provides an update on human rights issues in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since the report of the Secretary-General to the General Assembly at its seventy-first session (A/71/439). It focuses on the rights to life, liberty and security of the person, and to a fair trial; the right to freedom of movement; the right to freedom of expression and access to information; the issue of international abductions and separated families; the rights to food and health; and the rights of children, persons with disabilities and women. It remained difficult to obtain comprehensive and up-to-date information on these issues owing to the continued lack of access to the country and severe restrictions on seeking and receiving independent information. Nevertheless, while it has not been possible to verify information on individual cases, the information gathered points to persisting patterns of serious human rights violations. The report also provides an overview of the activities of the United Nations in relation to the human rights situation in the country and the Government’s engagement with the United Nations in that regard.
3. The report contains recommendations addressed to the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the international community and aimed at improving the human rights situation. It reiterates the Secretary-General’s call for the Government’s constructive engagement in that regard.