UN expert launches mission to South Korea to advance human rights dialogue with the North
GENEVA / SEOUL (27 June 2018) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Tomás Ojea Quintana, will visit Seoul from 2 to 10 July. This will be the UN expert’s first official mission to Seoul since the easing of tensions on the Korean peninsula.
“My upcoming visit to Seoul is part of my ongoing assessment of the situation of human rights in the DPRK,” Ojea Quintana said. “This visit is particularly important because of the opportunity it affords to underscore the importance of human rights to be part of the ongoing dialogue on denuclearization.”
The UN expert, while welcoming the current rapprochement, has repeatedly called for world leaders to engage in dialogue with North Korea on human rights. “Bringing human rights to the table is not a hindrance but a way to ensure that talks are real and sustainable,” he said.
During his eight-day mission, Ojea Quintana will meet with senior members of the Government of the Republic of Korea, as well as members of the diplomatic community. He is also expected to meet with representatives of civil society organisations, the Korean Red Cross and the National Human Rights Commission of Korea. He will also meet with people who have recently left the DPRK.
The Special Rapporteur undertakes regular visits to the Republic of Korea and reports annually to the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. The upcoming visit is his fourth visit to the Republic of Korea since his appointment by the Human Rights Council in March 2016. He last visited Seoul in December 2017.
Despite repeated requests made to date, the DPRK has not granted the UN expert access to the country.
The special rapporteur will hold a press conference on Tuesday 10 July, from 10:30 to 11:30 (local time) at the Korea Press Center (124, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu), Seoul. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.
Ojea Quintana will report his findings and recommendations to the General Assembly in October 2018.