UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Tuesday said there can no longer be any excuses for inaction [press release] in North Korea following the release of a 372-page report [JURIST report] documenting widespread crimes against humanity. Pillay referred to the acts committed in North Korea as so atrocious as to not have any parallel in the contemporary world.
Insufficient attention was being paid to the kind of horrific and sustained human rights violations that are reported to be taking place on an ongoing basis in the DPRK. ... That has now been partly rectified. We now need strong international leadership to follow up on the grave findings of the Commission of Inquiry. I therefore call on the international community, in line with the report’s recommendations, to use all the mechanisms at its disposal to ensure accountability, including referral to the International Criminal Court.The independent Commission of Inquiry is scheduled to present its report to the 47 member sates of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on March 17 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The UN has sought to investigate and counter human rights abuses occurring in North Korea in the past. In September the UN commission responsible for investigating potential human rights violations in North Korea reported widespread human rights abuses [JURIST report] occurring in the country. Last February Special Rapporteur Marzuki Darusman and a group of independent human rights experts announced their support for an international inquiry [JURIST report] into human rights violations in North Korea to bring awareness to the country's system of political prison camps. Also last February Darusman urged the UNHRC and the General Assembly to investigate human rights violations [JURIST report] in North Korea. In November 2012 he also expressed concern [JURIST report] over the country's lack of development in human rights, and called on its new leader, Kim Jong-un, to remedy the matter. Last January UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned North Korea's human rights record [JURIST report] and urged the international community to make efforts to improve the situation. Pillay's plea came only days after Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] called on the UN [JURIST report] to examine human rights abuses, particularly in light of the decrease in the number of individuals escaping into China and reports by successful escapees of increasing crackdowns on escape attempts.