HRNK REPORT LAUNCH: HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA: THE ROLE OF THE UNITED NATIONS, BY DAVID HAWK
NEW HRNK REPORT HIGHLIGHTS THE UN ROLE IN PROMOTING AND PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE DPRK
THE REPORT IS AVAILABLE AS A PDF FILE THROUGH HRNK’S WEBSITE:
WASHINGTON, JULY 1, 2021. The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) releases today a comprehensive study of the role of the UN in bringing human rights improvement to the DPRK. Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: The Role of the United Nations is the sixth and latest installment in a series of HRNK reports by David Hawk, a world-renowned investigator of crimes against humanity and other human rights violations in North Korea. David Hawk authored Hidden Gulag, HRNK’s first report, released in 2003, which set the standard for investigation of North Korea’s political prison camps and other detention facilities. The David Hawk report HRNK is releasing today is our 50th, a meaningful landmark, especially since 2021 is our 20th jubilee year.
In Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: The Role of the United Nations, David Hawk details efforts by many UN Member States and by the UN’s committees, projects, and procedures to promote and protect human rights in the DPRK. The report highlights the DPRK’s shifts in its approach to human rights before and after the February 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry report. Following the collapse of the Hanoi Summit and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DPRK is currently in an extreme “anti-reform” and “anti-opening” phase, signaling an urgent need for the UN and like-minded Member States to assist vulnerable North Koreans in need while upholding compliance with internationally accepted human rights standards.
According to author David Hawk, “this monograph carefully details the history of North Korea's interaction with the United Nations, particularly the changes in the DPRK's stance toward human rights following the 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry Report, after which North Korea became much more tactically open and engaged regarding the human rights of its citizens.” Hawk further adds: “As endorsed by the General Assembly, the UN proffers a two-track approach to North Korea: accountability and engagement. Presently both approaches are stymied. But if conditions possibly improve, the steps that North Korea and its interlocuters -- governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental -- should take are clearly outlined by the UN processes detailed in this HRNK account.”
Ambassador Robert King, former U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues commented: “When I began my tenure as Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights 12 years ago, one of my very first conversations was with David Hawk, who had just published one of his early reports on DPRK human rights. His sharp insight and understanding were important as I started serving in that position. Now over a decade later, David is still one of the most important voices on human rights in the North, as this latest report clearly indicates. It is fitting that David Hawk has written this 50th report on DPRK human rights issues published by HRNK, since he has played such a central role on this issue.”
According to HRNK Co-Chair Emeritus Roberta Cohen, “the United Nations has been one of the most significant forums for bringing North Korea's human rights record to world attention. David Hawk's new report greatly contributes to our understanding of the UN role and the tensions between the monolithic ideology of the Workers' Party and international norms. Most importantly, Hawk presents a roadmap for the future consisting of the many recommendations the UN has made to promote internal reform.” Co-Chair Emeritus Cohen further added: “The report should be forwarded to North Korean officials at the UN and embassies abroad as well as to all UN country missions because of the constructive solutions it suggests for greater North Korean human rights cooperation with the UN.”
HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu points out that, while travel has been severely limited under COVID-19-induced restrictions, HRNK has been engaged in thorough efforts to reach out to UN agencies, UN Permanent Missions and EU allies via electronic correspondence and video conferencing. According to Scarlatoiu, “David Hawk’s latest report will become the standard-setting cornerstone of HRNK’s international outreach, in particular in our UN outreach and our efforts to facilitate and reinforce trans-Atlantic cooperation with like-minded European allies, aimed to bring human rights, justice and prosperity to the people of the DPRK.”
The report rollout and presentation by David Hawk will be held via Zoom virtual conference, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EDT, on Thursday, July 1, 2021. HRNK Co-Chair Emeritus Roberta Cohen and Ambassador Robert King, former U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues, will join the author as discussants. HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu will moderate. Please RSVP by clicking here.
If you are unable to participate, a video recording will be made available on HRNK’s YouTube channel after the event.
HRNK was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit research organization dedicated to documenting human rights conditions in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as North Korea is formally known. Visit www.hrnk.org to find out more.
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