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Role and achievements of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights with regard to the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (A/HRC/31/38)

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Human Rights Council
Thirty-first session
Agenda items 2 and 4
Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

Summary

The present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 28/22, provides updated information about the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the activities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Seoul between 1 April and 31 December 2015.

I. Introduction 1. On 28 March 2014, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 25/25, in which it requested the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to establish a field-based structure to follow up on the recommendations made in the report of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (see A/HRC/25/63), and to provide the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with increased support. In the resolution, the Council mandated the field-based structure to strengthen monitoring and documentation of the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, to ensure accountability, to enhance engagement and capacity-building with the Governments of all States concerned, civil society and other stakeholders, and to maintain visibility of the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, including through sustained communications, advocacy and outreach initiatives.

  1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 28/22, in which the Council requested OHCHR to submit a comprehensive report at its thirty-first session on the role and achievements of the Office, including on the field-based structure, with respect to the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The report covers the period from 1 April to 31 December 2015.

  2. On 22 May 2015, the Government of the Republic of Korea signed an interim host country agreement with OHCHR for the establishment of the field-based structure in Seoul. The High Commissioner formally opened OHCHR (Seoul) on 23 June 2015.

  3. During the reporting period, OHCHR was not granted access to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Thus, the information contained in the report is gathered from various reliable sources, including Governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academics and individuals who have left the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Information contained in the report was cross-checked to the extent possible. However, the lack of access of independent human rights monitors to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a challenge to independent verification.