Global powers bear the responsibility for sidelining the crimes against humanity that still might be perpetrated in North Korea over heightened focus on the nuclear programme, said a United Nations (UN) human rights investigator on March 10. In an interactive dialogue with UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur DPRK Tomas Ojea-Quintana on Wednesday, he called on the UN Security Council to refer to the serious violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the International Criminal Court for prosecution.
Further, he also voiced concerns at the reports of gruesome punishments that DPRK citizens were subjected to over breaking COVID-19 restrictions including alleged orders to “shoot on sight” for anyone caught crossing the borders. Ojea-Quintana told the UN Human Rights Council that “crimes against humanity may be ongoing” in the country that has publicly not reported a single case of coronavirus infection.
The UN Special Rapporteur DPRK stated that he had information confirming the findings of a landmark 2014 United Nations Commission of Inquiry on "extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other forms of sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, enforced disappearances and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation” in the isolated country.
He reiterated that the “urgency to stop violations of such a scale, gravity and nature cannot take a back seat to national interests or geopolitical interests.”
UN expert for #DPRK, Tomas Ojea Quintana, told the #HRC that urgency 2 stop #humanrights violations in the #DPRK cannot take a back seat to national/geopolitical interests. #UNSC bears responsibility for its inaction. https://t.co/1z9QQd65AD https://t.co/0LE6xClNfd @tojeaquintana— UN Human Rights in Seoul (@UNrightsSeoul) March 11, 2021
Ojea-Quintana told the Geneva forum that it is not justified under the UN Charter and said, “I believe that the Security Council bears responsibility for its inaction against the continuation of crimes against humanity in the DPR Korea” while presenting his latest report on DPRK which was issued last week. The report said that North Korean authorities had taken dramatic measures to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak including starvation.
The report stated, “OHCHR, in its recent report to the Human Rights Council on promoting accountability in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea pursuant to resolutions 34/24 and 40/20, stated that “[a]nalysis of available information continues to confirm that there are reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed and may be ongoing in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”