Photo credit: 金正恩与文在寅在正式会谈前合影

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) thanks Mr. Quintana for the presentation of his report. We share the Special Rapporteur’s view that peaceful engagement and genuine dialogue are the only way to secure improvements to the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

We warmly welcome the positive developments of inter-Korean relations and we commend the leaderships of both countries for such a historical achievement. We encourage them to continue on this courageous path and we call on the international community to support and facilitate their efforts.

To achieve a long-lasting peace in the Korean peninsula is nevertheless indispensable to formally put an end the 1950-53 Korean War with a peace treaty. To this end, member states should urge the United States to comply with the terms of the 1953 armistice which, inter alia, called for the removal of all foreign troops from the peninsula. The Chinese troops left in the 1950’s. The United States still has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea. The US must start to withdraw its armed forces without any further delay.

Arbitrary detentions, torture, mass surveillance and other human rights violations must be investigated wherever they occur and by whoever they are committed. To create an environment for progress in the human rights situation, member states should consider a different approach to the DPRK. It is time to lift economic sanctions and to end diplomatic isolation. It is time to build trust and confidence.

If we really want the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to engage with the international community on human rights issues, it is important for the Human Rights Council to avoid politicization, selectivity, naming and shaming and other confrontational approaches which undermine dialogue and cooperation and cannot contribute to any improvement on the ground.

Mr. Quintana, during a press conference in July 2018 you raised concerns about 12 north Korean young ladies that in 2016 might have been abducted and forcibly transferred to Seoul by the National Intelligence Service. Despite your call for an investigation into whether they were brought to South Korea against their will and despite different complaints brought by lawyers for the girls’ families, no proper judicial investigation was ever undertaken.

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) started its own inquiry into the allegations. They were supposed to announce the outcome of their investigation by February this year, but they continue to delay the publication of their analysis.

Considering the unnecessary tensions created by this controversial case, we kindly request the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Quintana:

  • to call upon South Korean authorities to properly investigate the allegations and the eventual role played by the NIS, and to keep track of the developments in your future reports;

  • to encourage the National Human Rights Commission of Korea to release the result of their investigation as soon as possible;

  • to consider the possibility to facilitate a meeting between the 12 north Korean girls and their families in Panmunjom or Seoul and the exchange of letters or phone calls between them;
  • to ensure that DPRK nationals held in the Centre for North Korean Defectors located in Siheung, Gyeonggi province, are given access to counsel during the entire length of their detention, as recommended by the UN Human Rights Committee in 2015.

March 11th 2019

Download PDF: NK statement Final