Call for investigation into North Korea human rights abuses

Human rights organisations are campaigning for the United Nations to launch an investigation into crimes against humanity in North Korea.

Some 40 human rights groups are seeking the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate systematic abuses in the reclusive communist country.

The International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK),
was launched in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Coalition members include Christian Solidarity Worldwide and the world's three largest human rights organisations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Federation for Human Rights.

“The time has come for the UN to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate
crimes against humanity that characterise North Korea today,” said Phil Robertson,
Deputy Director of Asia Division at Human Rights Watch.

“We demand the world pull back the curtain on the egregious human rights violations that make the North Korean Government one of the most brutal regimes on earth.”

The campaign was launched at the end of a two-day conference in Tokyo on crimes against humanity in North Korea. Delegates included survivors of North Korean prison camps and family members of Japanese abductees.

It draws on the final report to the UN last year by UN Special Rapporteur, Vitit Muntarbhorn, in which he told of "harrowing and horrific" human rights violations and called upon the UN to protect human rights in the country.

Last year, the European Parliament also passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry, condemning the North Korean
Government for its “ongoing, grave, widespread and systematic human rights
violations perpetrated against its own people”.

Ha Tae Keung, President of Open North Korea, said: “Establishment of this important coalition will help move human rights to centre stage in all of the international community’s interactions with North Korea.

“It’s critical that UN member states take up this call and include language to establish a Commission of Inquiry in the coming annual UN resolution on North Korea.”