UN expert on North Korean human rights to visit Seoul

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GENEVA / SEOUL (3 January 2019) – A UN expert on human rights in North Korea will visit the South Korean capital Seoul from 7 to 11 January. 

Tomás Ojea Quintana, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, will meet with senior members of the South Korean Government, members of the diplomatic community, as well as representatives of the civil society and other stakeholders. He will also interview people who have recently escaped the DPRK and collect information on the current human rights situation inside the country. 

Despite repeated requests for a country visit, the DPRK has not granted the UN expert access to the country. 

The Special Rapporteur regularly visits the region and reports annually to the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. The upcoming visit is his fifth to the Republic of Korea since his appointment by the Human Rights Council in March 2016. He last visited Seoul in July 2018. 

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on Friday 11 January, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (local time) at the Korea Press Center (124, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu), Seoul. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists. 

Ojea Quintana will report his findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in March 2019. 

ENDS 

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 also led cases of criminal corporate responsibility. 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. 

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 

OHCHR Seoul Office 

For additional information and media requests, please contact in English, Olga Nakajo (+41 76 691 10 99 before, during and after the visit/ onakajo@ohchr.org) or in Korean, Yumi Song (+82 2 725 3524 / ysong@ohchr.org) 

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)  

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rights: www.standup4humanrights.org

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