Human Rights Council
28 February– 1 April 2022
Agenda item 4 Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention
The present report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 46/17, is the final report of the current mandate-holder to the Council. The Special Rapporteur provides an assessment of the human rights situation over the past six years of his mandate and makes practical proposals for future engagement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He calls for the international community as well as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to make a significant shift in approach to improve human rights and to achieve accountability.
This is the final report of the current mandate holder to the Human Rights Council.
Over the past six years of his mandate, he has consistently stated that any improvement in the human rights situation is only possible through sustained engagement and by ensuring that those responsible for past and ongoing widespread and systematic human rights violations are held accountable. The Special Rapporteur in this report outlines practical measures on how the international community and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea can secure improvements to the human rights situation and achieve accountability.
The full-scale border shutdown and travel restrictions between cities and regions enforced by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since January 2020 as part of COVID-19 quarantine measures continue. The Special Rapporteur is gravely concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation under further isolation of the country, in particular the aggravation of the food crisis and stricter control of people’s freedoms.
The Special Rapporteur undertook an official visit to the Republic of Korea from 15 to 23 February 2022. He received valuable insights from the Government, members of the National Assembly, escapees from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, representatives of civil society, victims and their families, as well as members of the diplomatic community and other stakeholders. He regrets that the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continues to oppose his mandate. During his term, on only one occasion did the Special Rapporteur have the opportunity to meet and talk with some members of the Workers’ Party of Korea. The Special Rapporteur hopes that the Government will revisit its current policy, and invite him to the country before his term ends in July 2022 so that he can constructively engage on human rights issues and understand unsolved historical grievances such as those experienced during the Korean War and during the Japanese occupation in order to present the country’s point of view to the international community.