14 November 2016
GENEVA/SEOUL/TOKYO (14 November 2016) – The new United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Tomás Ojea Quintana, will visit for the first time the Republic of Korea from 16 to 22 November, and Japan from 23 to 26 November 2016.
During his ten-day mission to Northeast Asia, the independent expert appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council in August 2016 will gather first-hand information from key stakeholders and assess the latest developments concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“I will use this mission to the Republic of Korea and Japan to explore possible ways to make concrete steps to improve the situation of human rights in the DPRK through consultation with state officials, people who have left the country, families of abduction victims, civil society actors, journalists and other relevant stakeholders,” he said.
Since the creation of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur in 2004, successive mandate holders have made requests to visit the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; however, access has so far not been granted. In that regard, the experts have visited other countries in the region such as Japan, Thailand and the Republic of Korea.
Mr. Ojea Quintana will hold a press conference on 22 November 2016, from 17:00-18:00 (local time) in Seoul, and another on 25 November from 16:00-17:00 (local time) at the United Nations University in Tokyo. Access to the press conferences is strictly limited to journalists.
The Special Rapporteur will report his findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in March 2017.
Mr. Tomás OJEA QUINTANA (Argentina) was designated as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK by the UN Human Rights Council in 2016. Mr. Ojea Quintana, a lawyer with more than 20 years of experience in human rights, worked for the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, and represented the Argentinian NGO ‘Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo’ in cases concerning child abduction during the military regime. He is a former Head of OHCHR human rights programme in Bolivia, and served as the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar from 2008 to 2014. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/CountriesMandates/KP/Pages/SRDPRKorea.aspx
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
UN Human Rights, country page – DPRK: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/KPIndex.aspx
OHCHR Seoul Office: http://seoul.ohchr.org/EN/Pages/HOME.aspx
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