This Policy Brief clarifiesthe application of R2P in the case of DPRK, outlining theresponsibility of the international community in relationto the government’s commission of crimes againsthumanity. While the situation remains complex anddangerous, the international community, especially theUNSC, has not exhausted all options and can no longercontinue to overlook ongoing mass atrocity crimes inDPRK.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
North Korea and the Responsibility to Protect
The 5 page report can be downloaded in PDF format at the link below. This is the first paper I have read that explicitly discusses Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in terms of north Korea. Excerpt:
18 August 2014
North Korea and the
Responsibility to Protect
The human rights and humanitarian situation in the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is dire.
Crimes against humanity as well as other systematic and
widespread human rights violations continue to be
committed by the government under the current
“Supreme Leader,” Kim Jong-un. Despite testimony
from defectors and other credible evidence accumulated
over the last decade, the government has never
acknowledged the existence of abuses, nor amended its
repressive policies. Extreme political isolation and
governmental intransigence continue to hamper further
investigation and accountability.
Amid mounting human rights concerns in DPRK, on 21
March 2013 the United Nations (UN) Human Rights
Council adopted resolution 22/13, establishing a
Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to investigate systematic,
widespread and grave violations of human rights,
particularly where “these violations may amount to
crimes against humanity.”1
The CoI published its findings on 7 February 2014,
establishing responsibility at the highest level of
government for ongoing crimes against humanity,
including “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture,
imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual
violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and
gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the
enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane
act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.” The
report noted the government’s failure to uphold its
primary responsibility to protect its population.
For nearly a decade UN bodies, including the General
Assembly, Human Rights Council and Secretariat, have
expressed concern over grave human rights violations
and called upon the government to improve the
situation. While the UN Security Council (UNSC) has
been engaged on DPRK in relation to nuclear weapons,
it has never directly addressed ongoing human rights
abuses. DPRK’s provocative nuclear policies, as well as
security concerns over the ongoing division of the
Korean Peninsula as a result of the 1950-1953 Korean
War, have continued to overshadow human rights
The DPRK government bears the primary Responsibility
to Protect (R2P) its population from genocide, ethnic
cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity, but
is manifestly failing to do so. This Policy Brief clarifies
the application of R2P in the case of DPRK, outlining the
responsibility of the international community in relation
to the government’s commission of crimes against
humanity. While the situation remains complex and
dangerous, the international community, especially the
UNSC, has not exhausted all options and can no longer
continue to overlook ongoing mass atrocity crimes in
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