Former UN COI Chair Kirby on the Death of Otto Warmbier

By The Honorable Michael Kirby


The Honorable Michael Kirby is the former chair of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

SYDNEY INSTITUTE 

SYDNEY, 21 JUNE 2017 

BEYOND THE TRAGEDY OF OTTO WARMBIER

Image Credit: CNN

This week the family of Otto Warmbier announced, in their polite, understated American way, “It is our sad duty to report that our son has completed his journey home. Otto died today at 2pm.”

The apparently healthy, well-nourished American university student from Wyoming, Ohio, made a fateful decision in China at the end of 2015. Instead of returning directly to his studies at the University of Virginia, he signed up for a short trip to the ‘hermit kingdom.’ His idea was to spend the New Year break in North Korea. During his stay at a Pyongyang hotel, he entered a staff room which was off bounds. He removed a propaganda banner that lauded the achievements of the Korean Workers’ Party and proclaimed undying loyalty to the ‘Great Leader,’ Kim Jong-un.

This act, doubtless conceived as a cheeky gesture, was not perceived that way by the North Korean authorities. The young Otto was arrested and separated from his group who left for home. He began his journey into grossly excessive punishment. He was tried and obliged to tender abject apologies. He was sentenced to 15 years hard labour. He joined other, mostly American, prisoners whose extreme punishments were probably designed to serve as inducements for outlandish concessions and to signify humiliation and submission. During 18 months of detention something happened that plunged Otto into an unresponsive coma. A deal was struck last week to return the comatose prisoner to his family. Wyoming, Ohio welcomed him back. But he died without recovering responsiveness. Otto Warmbier was foolish in the way that young people can sometimes be. But his jailers were brutal, secretive and neglectful. His ‘punishment’ was totally disproportionate. Proportion and moderation are features of universal human rights and democratic politics. They are not features of the society of North Korea that the young Otto so offhandedly decided to visit as a New Year lark. The tour company has now cancelled tours for Americans. The family condemn what they see as the wrong done to their son by North Korea. The world looks on and draws its conclusions.

In May 2013, I was appointed to chair a UN commission of inquiry on human rights violations in North Korea. Nothing in my previous 35 years as a judge in Australia had prepared me for the ‘systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations’ that were disclosed in the evidence about the conditions in that country. We were denied entry by the regime. We never expected that they would submit themselves to close up inspection. However, we had no problem gathering reliable and convincing evidence. More than 30,000 North Korean refugees are now living in South Korea where they have a constitutional right to citizenship. In understated public testimony, available online, many of them came forward to tell a horror story of what is going on in their country.

North Korea is a land of ceaseless propaganda. Of torture and inhuman treatment. Of arbitrary arrest and detention. Of public executions to which school children are brought to look and to learn what happens to state enemies. Detention camps exist where family members must join the accused so as to rid society of their contagion. It is a place where freedom of movement is strictly controlled. Where Korean, Japanese and other nationals have been abducted to serve the purposes of the Kim dynasty. Where starvation of thousands is a recurring nightmare because of the failures of the economic system, a left-over of the world’s last Stalinist society.

North Korea rejects the evidence and findings of the UN inquiry about the gulags containing the ‘hostile class’. Yet they reject UN demands to permit inspectors to examine the places we can identify. Satellite images confirm the testimony provided by our witnesses. In today’s world it is less easy than once it was to hide widespread wrongdoing.

After the UN report was delivered to the Human Rights Council in March 2014, it was impossible to deny, with any conviction, the serious state of affairs in North Korea. According to our findings ‘the gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.’ It is ‘a totalitarian State: a State that does not content itself with ensuring the authoritarian rule of a small group of people, but seeks to dominate every aspect of its citizens’ lives and terrorises them from within.’

The young Otto Warmbier had been specifically told by the tour company that he should not go into staff quarters in his hotel. He had been warned of the hyper-sensitivity of North Korea’s leadership to slights and to challenges to their leadership. Perhaps, as in his own country, that was just the challenge he needed to make his sudden, gesture to pilfer the propaganda symbol. But North Korea is a pitiless place. Especially so for uppity, well-fed American tourists. What he was not counting on was the pervasiveness of surveillance and the subordination of elite hotel employees to loyalty to their Leader.

Young Otto did not suffer detention in the political camps. His fate was incarceration in the ordinary prison system of the country. If, before setting out to Pyongyang, he had read the report of the UN commission on North Korea, he would have learned of the findings of grossly inhumane acts committed there against ordinary prisoners. Of extermination and murder, torture, rape and other grave sexual violence happening in the prisons. Of conditions similar to enslavement which persist behind prison walls. Of shocking shortages of food and hygiene. And the crimes against humanity that are a feature of daily life in North Korea. Had he read our report, he might have thought twice about going to such a country to celebrate the New Year. And if he had gone, he would have been aware of the brutality that attends trivial infractions, especially by foreigners, particularly by Americans. But he was just a high spirited student with his life ahead of him. Suddenly by an act he would have regarded as harmless, he became a dispensable pawn in a great international chess game.

A seemingly minor player on the geographical chess board (North Korea) has suddenly aspired to be a King. Despite comparative poverty and disadvantage it has developed nuclear warheads. It has tested sophisticated missiles. It has experimented with submarine launching facilities that will allow it to threaten more than its neighbours. The established players in the game do not seem to know how to declare checkmate to this new would-be King. A tiny pawn, like Otto Warmbier, can quite easily be removed from the game, and even from life. When and how the young Otto’s brain damage first occurred may never be known. Like much else about North Korea, it is shrouded in obsessive secrecy and mystery. Perhaps this is what intrigued Otto and caused him to take his fateful decision.

How should we remember Otto Warmbier from Ohio? His plight should draw our attention to the sufferings of an entire people subjected in North Korea to daily acts of fearsome disproportion and violence. Accidently perhaps, Otto’s incarceration, coma, removal and death, once again, call to notice the sufferings of the other prisoners, languishing in the jails of North Korea. A young American’s fate becomes a metaphor, a kind of symbol, of a big story about thousands of nameless statistics locked up and oppressed in North Korea. They are voiceless. But Otto Warmbier speaks of their suffering from his grave. He reminds the world of the human rights wrongs in North Korea. He joins the voices of the many witnesses who gave testimony to the UN commission.

The young Otto never woke from his coma to tell of his ordeal. Still the image of this healthy, strapping American student, joyfully speaking at his high school graduation on YouTube, is a reminder of all the other victims who remain behind. They are locked up in their prisons, their detention camps and elsewhere behind the DMZ in the closed society that is North Korea. They will remain locked up in that silence until the United Nations and the world community respond effectively to the UN Commission report.

In 1945, the world promised that never again would it turn away from crimes against humanity. That promise has not yet been delivered. We owe it to Otto Warmbier, but also to the people of North Korea who still live in the shadows, to deliver on the promise. The development of nuclear weapons in North Korea makes fidelity to the promise more difficult. But also more important and more urgent. The boy from Wyoming, Ohio tells the world that it should act. But will it? Can it? That is the puzzle left to humanity by the life and death of Otto Warmbier.

A Worldwide Controversy: North Korean Sports as a Tool for the Regime

By: Dacia Pajé, HRNK Research Intern
Edited by: Rosa Park, HRNK Director of Programs and Editor

Dacia Pajé graduated from law school at "Università degli Studi di Milano" in Italy, where she comes from. During her studies, she became interested in the human rights field and started studying Korean, Korean culture, and history. She finished her Master's degree in Communications for International Relations at IULM University in Milan, where she has been able to improve her knowledge about North Korean issues, bring in project work, and involve her collegues in the issues. While working at HRNK, she is also writing her thesis for her Master's degree: "Through the analysis of North Korea's history and traditions, explain its communication and diplomatic strategy in the international field, with a particular focus on the UN, the EU and Italy." She is a former HRNK intern. 

Have you seen Han? We have to trust the North Koreans! Sports help in bringing people closer[1]
-Antonio Razzi, Italian Senator of Forza Italia[2]

What Senator Razzi says rings true. Sports are a peaceful link, and a promoter of peace and fraternity. At least, this is what sports are among people. Recently, even ROK President Moon Jae-in stated: “If the neighboring countries in Northeast Asia, including North and South Korea, can host the World Cup together, it would help to create peace in North and South Korea as well as Northeast Asia”, identifying once again sport as a peaceful tool[3]. However, in North Korea, everything is connected to the Korean Worker’s Party (KWP) and sports become another tool for the regime to impose its power and will on its people as well as international players.

In Europe, several young North Korean players are training to become “better than Messi,” according to a motto at the Pyongyang International Football School.[4] As indicated by Italian talent scout Giulio D’Alessandro, there have been more than 30 young players from North Korea training in Spain and Italy in the last few years. Relations between Italian Soccer Management (ISM) and the [DPR]Korea Football Association (KFA) started when an Italian delegation composed of Senator Antonio Razzi, Alessandro Dominici (owner of 40% of ISM), and Matteo Salvini (Lega Nord secretary[5]) traveled to North Korea from August 25th to 31st, 2014.[6] Han Kwang-song, an 18-year-old North Korean player, is considered one of the most talented 50 players under 18 in the world by the The Guardian.[7] He started in Barcelona, Spain with Fundaciớn Marcet[8] and then moved to Perugia, Italy with the ISM.[9]

Article 19 of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association’s (FIFA’s) regulations for non-EU minors’ transfers states that academies can register their players after they turn 18. This is how Han and other North Korean players, including Choe Song-hyok and Pak Yong-gwan—both born in 1998—arrived in Italy as students while training at ISM. However, this is also where their paths diverged.

(Image Credit: www.fiorentina.it)

Choe Song-hyok

In March 2016, after turning 18 (date of birth: 02/08/1998), Choe was registered at the ACF Fiorentina with a “youth of league” contract, which means that he plays without pay and is regulated by article 33 of the Italian Football Federation rules. Article 33 of the same regulations indicates that young players (from 14 to 19 years old) only have the right to a final training compensation, and only during their last season with that particular club. The amount is paid annually, as defined by the league. The negotiation had a positive conclusion, even though the Italian Football Federation could confirm neither Choe’s original club (allegedly Chobyong Sports Club[10]) nor a possible economic transaction between the old club and the new one, Fiorentina.[11]

The negotiation has been subject to investigation by the Italian Parliament for the following reasons:
1) Possible violation of the UN economic sanctions on North Korea under Resolution 2321 since a potential economic transaction between Fiorentina and Chobyong—allegedly linked to the Korean People’s Army (KPA)—could be directly financing the North Korean military;
2) The young player has not been granted the full rights that Italy guarantees to everyone else within its territory. When abroad, North Korean soccer players and North Korean workers in general are accompanied by members of the State Security Department (SSD).[12]

Choe is allegedly under the custody of a guardian named Jong Sang-hoe, who is the team manager of the DPRK under 16 National Team, which trained in Perugia, Italy for at least six months. Choe was forbidden from giving interviews not related to soccer matters.[13] The Parliament interrogation did not receive a formal reply from the Italian government, but Fiorentina discharged Choe and 14 other North Korean players immediately after the interrogation started, which could appear suspicious.[14]

(Image Credit: www.cagliaricalcio.com)
Han Kwang-song

Like Choe Song-hyok, Han was also allegedly trained in the Chobyong Club. During the 2014 Under 16 Asian Championship in Thailand, he was captain of the DPRK national team, leading it to victory and qualifying for the Under 17 World Cup in Chile the following year.[15] After these successful international appearances, Han was noticed by the Italian Soccer Management (ISM) and arrived in Perugia, Italy, in 2017. He started earning the minimum federal income for training (1,500€ per month), which is required to go to Han’s personal bank account. One of the original concerns of the Italian Parliament was the actual destination of this money,[16] which was supported by the findings that between 70% and 90% of the salary of North Korean workers abroad goes directly to the North Korean regime.[17] The parliamentary investigation led by Michele Nicoletti, Partito Democratico (PD) Deputy, earlier this year, came to just the recommendation to the Italian Government to control soccer clubs’ payment procedures, assuring that the transfers go to the North Korean players and not to North Koreans authorities, in order to fulfil the worldwide embargo on North Korea[18].

Once Han turned 18 years old (date of birth: 09/11/1998), he was contracted by Cagliari Calcio Club as a young professional and made his first appearance in Serie A on March 10, 2017. He scored his first goal on April 2, 2017, which led his new team to victory. He became the first North Korean player to score in a Serie A game.[19][20]


Sports in North Korea.

Sports have always been used by the North Korean regime as a propaganda tool, and even worse, as a means of introducing North Korean spies into other countries. For instance, in the late 1960s, North Korea used the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) to send spies disguised as taekwondo masters around the world. Their most ambitious plan was the attempted assassination of South Korean President Park Chung-Hee during a visit to Canada, which was foiled by Canadian authorities.[21] Since then, North Korea has actually participated and distinguished itself in the following sporting events: 
  • Olympic Games 
    • First Winter Games in 1964, Innsbruk, Austria, wining one silver medal;
    • First Summer Games in 1972, Munich, Germany, winning one gold, one silver and and 3 bronze medals (total of 5);
    • Most recent games in Rio in 2016, winning 2 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze medals (total of 7)
  • Paralympics 
    • First in London in 2012, no medals; 
    • Most recently in Rio in 2016, no medals;
  • 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea 
    • Kim Un-hyang, an artistic gymnast, became a gold medalist. The DPRK delegation won 11 gold, 11 silver and 13 bronze medals, for a total of 35 medals.
  • 2015 World Aquatic Championships in Kazan, Russia
    • Kim Kuk-hyang, a female diver, became a gold medalist
    • Kim Un-hyang and Song Nam-hyang, female synchronized divers, became bronze medalists, for a total of 2 medals for the DPRK
  • Soccer World Cup
    • 1966 Soccer World Cup: North Korea upset Italy 1-0 in Middlesbrough, England, one of the biggest surprises in the history of the competition. North Korea advanced to the quarter finals (round of eight, only 16 teams advanced to the World Cup back then). In a memorable quarter final match, North Korea lost to a legendary Portugal side featuring iconic footballers Eusebio, Torres, Coruna and others, 5-3 after having been up 3-0 in the first half. Until South Korea qualified to the semi-finals (round of four) of the 2002 World Cup it co-hosted with Japan, North Korea’s 1966 performance was the best ever by an Asian team.
(Image Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Given that training is expensive for the regime and resources are scarce in North Korea, it is remarkable that these athletes have been able to win international competitions.[22] But their results are also the result of obsessively intense mobilization of available resources by the North Korean regime.

These athletes are pressured to win for the “glory of their Leader.” In 2012, during the London Olympics, North Korean medalists affirmed that their success was possible thanks to their leader, Kim Jong-un. Om Yun-chol, male gold medalist in weightlifting, said, “I won first place because the shining supreme commander Kim Jong-Un gave me power and courage.”[23] Again, in 2016, after winning the female gold medal for weightlifting at the Rio Games, Rim Jong-sim said, “The first thing I thought when I knew I had won was that I had made our beloved leader happy.”[24] Winners of gold medals are given the title of “Honorable Athlete” or “People’s Athlete” and receive gifts from the government, such as luxurious cars and houses.[25] The relationship between sports and the regime is not that several athletes belong to the army—this happens elsewhere in the world—but that the North Korean athletes are trained under the control of the State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission, established in 2012 by Kim Jong-un. It was originally under the authority of the National Defense Commission (NDC), but is now under the State Affairs Commission (SAC), whose First Chairman was Jang Song-taek. After Jang’s execution, Choe Ryong-hae, one of the most powerful men close to the Supreme Leader, quickly filled the position of First Chairman.

Soccer in North Korea is controlled by the KFA, established in 1945 and directed by Ri Yong-mu, a Lieutenant General in the KPA.[26] The KFA is a member of both FIFA (since 1958) and AFC, the Asian Continental Federation (since 1954), but it does not follow their transfer regulations. Usually, soccer clubs make money from ticket sales, bonuses received from advancing in international competition, private donations, advertising sponsors, or from transferring their players. In North Korea, it is the government that finances the soccer clubs, essentially taking over the decision-making process and controlling the budget.[27] To emphasize, it is the regime which finances soccer clubs and is actually the only institution with the money to do so. Moreover, the Department of Sports, which has hegemonic control over all sports, is a KWP office. Thus, when a club buys a North Korean player, it is essentially handing money to the Kim regime.

In 2013, Kim Jong-un opened the Pyongyang International Football School, making his will to make soccer a top priority in the country very clear. With global attention on the North Korean nuclear program, sports are considered a chance to divert attention. With approximately 200 boys and girls from 10 to 14 years old, the soccer academy also functions as a school with classrooms, lecture halls, and dormitory rooms. However, only the most talented players are sent abroad, mostly to Italy and Spain, to receive professional training.[28] "We are training our students to become super-talented players who can surpass the skills of people like Lionel Messi," said Ri Yu-il, one of the school’s coaches. They are aware of the great importance of foreign expertise, and for this reason, the men’s national team manager is a Norwegian coach, Jorn Andersen. Nonetheless, Andersen recognizes how difficult it is to train players who cannot go outside the country to compete against better-trained international players. In North Korea, young players can only learn and study the techniques of great players, such as Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo, by watching videos on CDs and USBs on their computers[29]. "My national players are with me but they don’t get match practice. They are always training, training, training ... but they don’t play matches," Andersen affirms.[30]

Half the stadium’s seats are assigned to civilians—who in summer all wear white hats, white shirts and red ties—while the other half is allocated to the military. Match marshals control the crowd with flags, instructing them to chant or applaud with wooden mitten clappers […] After every goal the crowd claps in unison and—if the Supreme Leader is present—the whole of the scoring team rushes forward to stand before him and salute.[31] This is how Ri Myong-guk, a soccer player from Pyongyang City Club, described a match in North Korea.

Attending a soccer match in Pyongyang is like attending one of the national parades honoring the Leader. One must cheer for the national team as one would cheer for the North Korean regime. To make matters worse, supporting and participating in these soccer events is demanding and expensive. People simply do not have enough money to attend matches in Pyongyang and are not able to go abroad to support their national team. Furthermore, the shortage of electricity means that during global sporting events, watching soccer matches on television is difficult and exclusively for the elite.[32]

In 1966, North Korea beat Italy during the World Cup in England, granting the DPRK national team international media attention. However, it was not until 2002 that a BBC crew obtained authorization for entering North Korea to film a documentary on the team entitled “The Game of their Lives.”[33] After ten months of training—including a tour in Russia—the North Korean players demonstrated their skills and shocked the world with their fast game, named after North Korea’s, Stakhanovite public mobilization campaign, Chollima, under Kim Il-sung.

After this incredible result, it took the DPRK national team 44 years to qualify to another World Cup, making it to South Africa in 2010, where only 50 North Korean citizens were allowed to attend in person to support their team. This time, the result was different, as the DPRK national team ended as the worst performing team in the World Cup.[34] According to the U.S.-based Radio Free Asia, the team was subjected to six hours of public mauling for "betraying" the communist nation's ideological struggle. The team coach, Kim Jung-hun, was accused of betraying the Leader’s son, Kim Jong-un. Winning would have been attributed to Kim Jong-un in an attempt to build support among the military and KWP members for the imminent power transfer.[35] FIFA was asked to investigate the accusation. After an investigation, FIFA claimed that the accusations were “baseless” and in a letter to FIFA, the Korean federation claimed that the coach and team were “training as usual” to take part in the 16th Asian Games.[36] Besides assurances that
FIFA had “checked all of its sources,” no evidence of coach or team safety was provided.

This was not the only issue North Korea has encountered with FIFA. Some members of the DPRK women’s team were banned from the 2015 Women’s World Cup for steroid use—the result of a traditional medical treatment called musk deer gland[37] therapy.[38] Furthermore, FIFA’s issues with North Korea have steadily extended into the political realm. In 1966, there were problems getting the DPRK national team to England to play against countries that did not officially recognize the nation.[39] However, over the past 14 years, FIFA has provided North Korea with a total of $2 million in funding, $450,000 of which was delivered in 2001 to improve the Kim Il-sung Stadium in Pyongyang.[40] Funds were also allotted to upgrade the training camp for the national soccer team, the headquarters of the North Korea Football Association, and to open the International Soccer School for children under 13 in 2014. Last year, an additional $7,678 was provided for domestic soccer development, maintaining fields, and training adolescents and referees. However, policy changed following the nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, and the satellite launch in 2012. Finally, in March 2015, FIFA renounced its plans to provide $1.66 million in financial assistance to the North Korean Football Association. This funding would have come from FIFA’s Financial Assistance Program (FAP), intended for nations that lack the resources to support a national soccer program.[41] FIFA is based in Switzerland and has to respect the sanctions of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), implementing and intensifying UN sanctions and travel bans on North Koreans suspected of having ties to the country’s nuclear program. For these reasons, FIFA is no longer able to provide North Korea with financial assistance.[42]

This analysis is not intended to dismiss the importance of cooperation in soccer or other sports. The scope of this analysis is rather, to argue that when it comes to North Korea, sports simply cannot be separated from politics. In North Korea, political considerations dominate every single aspect of life in the country. Nevertheless, despite the threat North Korea poses to international peace and security, both inside and outside the country, the DPRK national team was able to play in the qualifiers for the 2018 Russia World Cup.[43] Soccer clubs all over the world still conduct negotiations with suspicious North Korean clubs. Han’s team, Cagliari Club, is hosting and training another young North Korean player, Pak Yong-gwan (born in 1998), who comes from the same club, Chobyong.[44]

The Italian government has neither direct links nor apparent relations with the North Korean regime. But ignoring the atrocities committed inside the country is unacceptable. Hosting and paying two, three, or even ten soccer players in Italy may not provide massive financial assistance to the North Korean regime, but conducting any business with the North Korean authoritarian dictatorship should be taken much more seriously by the Italian government.

Italy has a diplomatic and political role in the international community and has recently implemented the UN’s sanctions on North Korea—withholding approval for the entrance of newly-appointed North Korean diplomats into the country and forcing some North Korean students in Italy to change their major from nuclear-related issues.[45] Moreover, on January 1, 2017, Italy became a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, meaning that it should set an example for the international community in regards to implementing and respecting United Nations sanctions. Controversy should be avoided. Even if soccer organizations are allegedly not directly affiliated with the government, they are under strong regime control in North Korea.

Of course, Han and Choe are not the problem. Instead, Han and Choe could be the solution. They are not just great soccer players, they are human beings, and they should not be used as propaganda tools, hiding and diverting attention away from the ongoing atrocities committed within their country.

In Italy we have consulates and embassies of countries persecuted for violating human rights. Eritrea, for example, and North Korea. It is important for the government to always raise up the human rights issue, whenever it is possible, during bilateral meetings with representatives of these countries. When human rights violations occur on our territory, it is everyone’s duty to inform the government. Those people, in Italy, must be free and enjoy all rights. I cannot understand why Italian athletic societies can authorize these kinds of behaviors or requests from such countries.” 

-Lia Quartapelle, Partito Democratico (PD) Deputy.[46]


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[1] Translation. “Razzi: Visto Han? Dei nordcoreani bisogna fidarsi”, Gazzetta dello Sport, April 26, 2017, http://www.gazzetta.it/Calcio/Serie-A/26-04-2017/razzi-visto-han-nordcoreani-bisogna-fidarsi-190994822513.shtml.
[2] Forza Italia is an Italian moderate-right wing’s party, whose ideology includes the Christian-democratic values and liberalism. Its president, since the foundation in 1994, is Silvio Berlusconi (former Italian Prime Minister), official website http://www.forzaitalia.it/index.htm. Senator Razzi is a member of Forza Italia and was elected at the Italian Senate in 2013; recently, he was nominated Secretary for the Senate Defense Commission, http://www.senato.it/leg/17/BGT/Schede/Attsen/00023054.htm.
[3] Christine Kim, edited by Hugh Lawson, “South Korea’s Moon Suggests Regional Bloc Including North Korea Hosts 2030 World Cup”, The New York Times, June 12, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2017/06/12/sports/soccer/12reuters-soccer-worldcup-southkorea-northkorea.html?_r=1
[4] Video. AFP news agency, November 4, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FD4FqthB8SA.
[5] Lega Nord is an Italian right-wing party founded in 1989, whose ideology includes federalism, social conservatism and anti-globalization; they ask for the independence of Padania, a huge territory consisting in several regions in the north of Italy; among their political proposals they also ask to leave the European Union (EU), and to close the borders to immigrants. Official website http://www.leganord.org/index.php.
[6] Giulia Pompili, “Che succede se arrivi alla Fiorentina da Pyongyang? Storia incredibile di mr Choe”, Il Foglio, March 22, 2016, http://www.ilfoglio.it/esteri/2016/03/22/news/che-succede-se-arrivi-alla-fiorentina-da-pyongyang-storia-incredibile-di-mr-choe-94044/.
[7] Giulio D’Alessandro’s blog, http://www.dalessandroscouting.com/han-kwang-song.html.
[8] Fundaciớn Marcet is a football academy founded in 1978 by Javier Marcet – a retired football player who played in Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona – whose purpose is to spread globally the so-called Plan Marcet: an innovative pedagogical method for an intelligent football, based not only on the physical training but also on the academic education and the teaching of human values. The academy offers training for future football players and coaches. http://www.fundacionmarcet.org/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1
[9] The Italian academy offers to young athletes U18 from all over the world international scouting programs.
[10] There is barely no information on the Chobyong Sports Club. It is under the DPRK Korea Football Association (PRKFA) (http://www.football-talents.co.uk/Chobyong_Sports_Club-26_27-2-102-19984.html), which is the governing body of football in North Korea, founded in 1945 and accepted into FIFA in 1958. (https://eaff.com/10fa/dprkorea/)
[11] Giulia Pompili, “Che succede se arrivi alla Fiorentina da Pyongyang? Storia incredibile di mr Choe”, Il Foglio, March 22, 2016, http://www.ilfoglio.it/esteri/2016/03/22/news/che-succede-se-arrivi-alla-fiorentina-da-pyongyang-storia-incredibile-di-mr-choe-94044/.
[12] Fedor Tertitskii, “North Korean footballers in Russia”, DailyNK, February 2, 2009, http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk00100&num=4510, the author mentions it as “NSA,” but the standard HRNK translation is “State Security Department (SSD).
[13] Giulia Pompili, “Che succede se arrivi alla Fiorentina da Pyongyang? Storia incredibile di mr Choe”, Il Foglio, March 22, 2016, http://www.ilfoglio.it/esteri/2016/03/22/news/che-succede-se-arrivi-alla-fiorentina-da-pyongyang-storia-incredibile-di-mr-choe-94044/.
[14] “Can N. Korean footballer join Serie A amid sanctions?”, Yonhap News Agency, March 7, 2017, http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/focus/2017/03/06/86/1700000000AEN20170306012200315F.html.
[15] Luca Gunby, “Kwang Song Han: the First North Korean To Score In Serie A”, Forza Italian Football, April 13, 2017, https://forzaitalianfootball.com/2017/04/kwang-song-han-the-first-north-korean-to-score-in-serie-a/.
[16] Translation. Paolo Tomaselli, “Han, da Pyongyang a Cagliari per scrivere la storia”, Corriere della sera, April 10, 2017, https://www.pressreader.com/italy/corriere-della-sera/20170410/282587377836177.
[17] Yoon, Y., and Lee. S., “Human Rights and North Korea’s Overseas Laborers: Dilemmas and Policy Challenges”, Database Center for North Korean Human Rights, 2015.
[18] Traduzione. “Han Kwang-song: sul suo tesseramento in rossoblù interrogazione parlamentare”, L’Unione Sarda.it, March 3, 2017, http://www.unionesarda.it/articolo/sport/2017/03/03/han_kwang_son_presto_rossobl_sul_suo_tesseramento_un_interrogazio-4-574932.html
[19] The official name is Serie A TIM and it is Italy’s top soccer league since 1929. Official website http://www.legaseriea.it/it
[20] “Han Kwang-song, primo nordcoreano a segnare in serie A: merito di Antonio Razzi”, Libero, April 10, 2017, http://www.liberoquotidiano.it/news/sport/12354292/han-kwang-song-calciatore-nordcoreano-cagliari-gol-record.html.
[21] Brian Benedictus, “Golf and Lighting: the Odd Realm of North Korean Sport”, The Diplomat, August 28, 2014, http://thediplomat.com/2014/08/golf-and-lightning-the-odd-realm-of-north-korean-sport/.
[22] Jinhyok Park, “Ask a North Korean: How is sport viewed in the DPRK?”, NK News, July 14, 2016, https://www.nknews.org/2016/07/ask-a-north-korean-how-is-sport-viewed-in-the-dprk/.
[23] Louise Boyle, “Dear Leader, we’re doing great in London: How did North Korea end up sitting FIFTH in the Olympics medal table?”, The Daily Mail, August 1, 2012, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2181855/Olympics-2012-North-Korea-fifth-medals-table.html.
[24] “North Korean weightlifter says Olympic gold will make ‘beloved’ Kim Jong-un happy”, The Guardian, August 13, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/aug/13/north-korean-weightlifter-says-olympic-gold-will-make-beloved-kim-jong-un-happy.
[25] Jinhyok Park, “Ask a North Korean: How is sport viewed in the DPRK?”, NK News, July 14, 2016, https://www.nknews.org/2016/07/ask-a-north-korean-how-is-sport-viewed-in-the-dprk/.
[26] Danny Nazareth, “The curious case of North Korea’s national football team”, Sportskeeda, October 30, 2015, https://www.sportskeeda.com/football/curious-case-north-korea-national-football-team.
[27] “North Korean football: a big mystery of FIFA football”, The Paths Less Travelled Blog, January 14, 2011, https://thepathslesstravelled.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/north-korean-football-the-big-mystery-of-fifa-football/.
[28] “Pyongyang football school opens to foreign tourists”, NK NEWS.ORG, June 24, 2014, https://www.nknews.org/2014/06/pyongyang-football-school-opens-to-foreign-tourists/ .
[29] Jinhyok Park, “Ask a North Korean: How is sport viewed in the DPRK?”, NK News, July 14, 2016, https://www.nknews.org/2016/07/ask-a-north-korean-how-is-sport-viewed-in-the-dprk/.
[30] Agence France-Presse, “Pyongyang International Football School: The academy aiming to produce North Korea’s Lionel Messi”, The National, Sport, November 15, 2016, http://www.thenational.ae/sport/asian-football/pyongyang-international-football-school-the-academy-aiming-to-produce-north-koreas-lionel-messi.
[31] Rory Mclean, “A day in the life of North Korean footballer Ri Myong-guk”, The Guardian, May 14, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/15/north-korean-footballer-ri-myong-guk.
[32] Jinhyok Park, “Ask a North Korean: How is sport viewed in the DPRK?”, NK News, July 14, 2016, https://www.nknews.org/2016/07/ask-a-north-korean-how-is-sport-viewed-in-the-dprk/.
[33] Daniel Gordon, “the Game of their lives”, 2002, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG-ivV-ps50.
[34] “North Korean football: a big mystery of FIFA football”, The Paths Less Travelled Blog, January 14, 2011, https://thepathslesstravelled.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/north-korean-football-the-big-mystery-of-fifa-football/.
[35] Justin McCurry, “North Korea’s failed World Cup footballers undergo public mauling”, The Guardian, July 30, 2010, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jul/30/north-korea-footballers-public-mauling.
[36] “North Korea cleared of ‘foul’ play by FIFA”, CNN, August 26, 2010,http://edition.cnn.com/2010/SPORT/football/08/26/world.cup.korea.coach.assurances/index.html.
[37] The gland comes from musk deer living in a large area of Asia, from Siberia to North Korea. The hairy gland is 4cm and it is usually cut open to extract a liquid used for medical purposes. As a matter of fact, it is classified as a resuscitation-inducing aromatic herbs that can stimulate central nervous system if taken orally or relieve pain and reduce swelling in external application.
[38] Jinkuk Kim for RFA’s Korean Service. Translated by Yunju Kim. Written in English by Joshua Lipes. “FIFA to withdraw Funding For North Korean Soccer Develpoment”, Radio Free Asia, March 12, 2015, http://www.rfa.org/english/news/korea/fifa-03122015144548.html.
[39] Daniel Gordon, “the Game of their lives”, 2002, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG-ivV-ps50.
[40] Ibid.
[41] “FIFA to Withdraw Funding For North Korean Soccer Development”, Radio Free Asia, March 12, 2015, http://www.rfa.org/english/news/korea/fifa-03122015144548.html.
[42] Ibid.
[43] The DPRK team was eliminated in Round 2 of the qualifying campaign, in June 2015.
[44] Translation. “Calciomercato Cagliari, Pak Yong-gwan è il secondo nord-coreano”, Sky Sport, March 24, 2017, http://www.corrieredellosport.it/news/calcio/calcio-mercato/2017/03/24-23354972/calciomercato_cagliari_pak_yong_gwan_e_il_secondo_nord-coreano/?cookieAccept.
[45] “Italy implements sanctions on N. Korean diplomats”, YonhapNews Agency, April 10, 2017, http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/search1/2603000000.html?cid=AEN20170310002500315&__s=nqizptkv2ihqtpfcq2yd.
[46] Translation. Giulia Pompili, “L’inchiesta del Foglio sul calciatore nordcoreano in Italia finisce in Parlamento”, Il Foglio, May 26, 2016, http://www.ilfoglio.it/italia/2016/05/26/news/linchiesta-del-foglio-sul-calciatore-nordcoreano-in-italia-finisce-in-parlamento-96601/.

North Korea’s Tactics of Human Rights Deception

By Robert Collins


The United Nations Special Rapporteur (SR) on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, visited North Korea May 3-8 to discuss her area of responsibility as it applies to North Korea. This was the first trip ever by a UN Special Rapporteur to North Korea. One of the arguments put forth by UN member states that do not support the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on DPRK Human Rights Issues is that they oppose country-specific mechanisms. It will be interesting to see if the precedent created by Ms. Aguilar’s visit has an impact on the chances of SR Tomás Ojea Quintana to conduct a country visit, despite statements to the contrary issued by North Korean propaganda. But the recent visit was also a trip that played right into the Kim Regime’s hands in their dealing with the international community on human rights issues.

As background, in December of 2016, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) Supreme People’s Assembly ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.[1] Article 2 of this convention states that “States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or their parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status."[2]

In typical form, North Korean officials took advantage of the opportunity of Aguilar’s visit to insist that it would “promote the rights and conveniences of those with disabilities and strengthen international cooperation.” In that sense, Aguilar’s visit made progress in a limited way regarding human rights in North Korea. Some may see this as advancement of the cause but a closer look shows its limitations.

First, the rights of those with disabilities are the easiest to demonstrate proof of implementation because of the physicality of the issue and its much smaller role in North Korean society compared to overall human rights abuses. There is evidence that North Korea attempts to assist those with disabilities and there is some photographic evidence of prosthetics production and rehabilitation facilities.[3] Secondly, the North Koreans took Aguilar to an orphanage in South Hwanghae Province. Why there? The province borders Pyongyang to the south, but are there no orphanages in Pyongyang? [4] It has often been reported that those with disabilities are moved out of Pyongyang by the party-state.[5] Finally, the Kim Regime’s ability to stage events to deceive foreign diplomats and visitors is renowned…just ask the International Atomic Energy Agency and any humanitarian NGO that operated in North Korea in the 1990’s. 

There is significant testimony from North Korean defectors concerning overall human rights abuses, including those against individuals with disabilities.[6] Although North Korea insists that it will not tolerate the testimony of 30,000 defectors,[7] the reality is that human rights denial is the express policy of the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP). It should be evident to the most casual of observers—and unfortunately it is often not—that while the DPRK Government projects human rights observance, it is not any branch the DPRK Government, but the KWP, which runs the country and on which the Kim Regime is based, that determines all policy within North Korea. The KWP Charter states this 35 times.[8] Yet the international community ignores this dynamic to its perpetual disadvantage by believing engagement with DPRK Government officials—rather than the applicable KWP officials—will make a difference. We should also notice that the Korea Central News Agency stated during Aguilar’s visit that “we shall never acknowledge the United Nations special rapporteur on the DPRK human rights issues…”[9]

All Kim Regime policies are shaped by the Ten Great Principles of Monolithic Ideology (TPMI) which puts all regime values, policy shaping, and citizenship guidance in the focus of servitude to the supreme leader. It is this creed that shapes the regime’s true approach to human rights and not the state constitution or state civil law.

There are those who believe North Korea’s voluntary changes to its national constitution in 2009 and to its civil law were designed to provide more specific attention to human rights in North Korea.[10] They would state that international efforts to confront DPRK officials with non-binding resolutions and personal confrontation at various committees within the United Nations have thus been effective. But those that draw attention to these so-called “successes” and “improvements” do not understand that their efforts have merely provided the North Korean party-state and party officials with “human rights language” whose inclusion in reformed DPRK laws gives the veneer of compliance to international human rights norms and standards.

Yes, signing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a positive step and can be seen as a small victory in a large battle. However, any belief that these changes to the language in their laws actually result in changes to human rights conditions inside North Korea is not only misplaced, but also misinformed about the Kim Regime’s nature and political will to retain power at any cost, including the sacrifice of the North Korean people, especially their human rights. Understanding the nature of the Kim Regime is simple enough—security of the absolute dictator is paramount; whatever sacrifices have to be made to ensure that security will be made. There are several litmus tests that provide ample evidence to this principle:

· The prioritization of the regime’s nuclear and missile programs and the North Korean military over the general economy and the population’s health and welfare;
· Numerous violations of and withdrawal from international conventions;
· Sacrificing the operational and efficacy competence of the industrial and agricultural sector;
· The existence of political prison camps that are based on the TPMI and guilt by association, thus ensuring the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands who committed a crime that does not exist in any law elsewhere save the most despotic of regimes.

But as most informed people know, human rights conditions in North Korea are worse than that. Political prison camps, socio-political classification of the population, healthcare, employment and housing assignments based on that classification, and food shortages are all substantiated elements of the Kim Regime’s policy of human rights denial.[11]

Projecting legitimacy on international stages such as the United Nations by DPRK diplomats is a front to disguise and hide the Kim Regime’s crimes against humanity. When compelled to accept external aid and assistance, foreign workers of all types are sequestered and continuously monitored to ensure “they don’t collect state secrets.” But this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of human rights violations.

It is the mission of North Korean diplomats and government representatives to play the front man when dealing with officials such as the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. These diplomats take their guidance from the KWP, not their government supervisors. The collection of information on human rights organizations strategies and dialogue talking points enables the party to redirect DPRK vernacular to satisfy those so willing to believe North Korea is cooperating.

Any place else in the world, change is the illusion of progress but in North Korea the illusion of change is progress in the eyes of the supreme leader and the KWP.


--------


[1] Yonhaps News, “N.K. attaches importance to int'l cooperation in human rights,” May 10, 2017. URL: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2017/05/10/0401000000AEN20170510002300315.html.
[2] Convention on the Rights of the Child, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. November 20, 1989.
[3] Katharina Zellweger, “People with Disabilities in a Changing North Korea,” Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University, 2014. URL: http://aparc.stanford.edu.
[4] Dagyum Ji, “North Korea willing to “faithfully implement” intl. human rights treaties: KCNA,” NKNews, May 10, 2017. URL: https://www.nknews.org/2017/05/north-korea-willing-to-faithfully-implement-intl-human-rights-treaties-kcna/.
[5] For Instance, see “North Korea Puts Handicapped in Camps, U.N. Report Says,” Mail Online, October 20, 2006. URL: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-411648/North-Korea-puts-handicapped-camps-U-N-report-says.html; see also testimony of refugee Lee XX during an in­terview at KINU, 2006 White Paper, 106; see also U.S. Department of State, 2010 Country Reports on Hu­man Rights Practices: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, 2011.
[6] Julian Ryall, “North Korea's disappeared: regime 'performs experiments on disabled people before leaving them to die,' Telegraph, December 11, 2014. URL. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/11286517/North-Korea-leaves-disabled-to-die.html?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2ASituation%20Report&utm_campaign=Sit%20Rep%20December%2012%202014; see also Lee Aeran et al, “Disabled in North Korea Confined to Homes, Expelled from Capital,” Radio Free Asia, June 13, 2007. URL: http://www.rfa.org/english/korea/nkorea_disabled-20070613.html.
[7] Dagyum Ji, “North Korea willing to “faithfully implement” intl. human rights treaties: KCNA,” NKNews, May 10, 2017. URL: https://www.nknews.org/2017/05/north-korea-willing-to-faithfully-implement-intl-human-rights-treaties-kcna/.
[8] For an explanation of North Korea’s regime approach to policy-making and decision-making processes, see Jun Hyun-jun, Jeong Yeong-tae, Choi Su-yeong and Lee Gi-dong, 김정일 정권 등장 이후 북한의 체제유지 정책 고찰과 변화 전망 (Considering Policies For Maintaining North Korea’s System After Kim Jong-il and the Outlook For Change) (Seoul: Korea Institute for National Unification, KINU Research Report 08-08, December 2008); pages 201-219; see also the Korean Workers’ Party Charter (in Korean), 2010, provided by the Republic of Korea Ministry of Government Legislation’s North Korea Laws Information Center. URL: http://world.moleg.go.kr/KP/law/24980?astSeq=580.
[9] Dagyum Ji, “North Korea willing to “faithfully implement” intl. human rights treaties: KCNA,” NKNews, May 10, 2017. URL: https://www.nknews.org/2017/05/north-korea-willing-to-faithfully-implement-intl-human-rights-treaties-kcna/.
[10] For a review of those changes, see Lee Kyu-chang, “김성은 후계구도와 북한 인권 – 인권 관련 법령 정비를 종심으로 (Kim Jong-un’s Succession Structure and North Korean Human Rights – Focus on Changes to Laws Concerning Human Rights), Korea Institute for National Unification, Online Series CO 11-11, April 6, 2011. URL: http://www.kinu.or.kr.
[11] Food is a critical shortcoming in North Korea and millions suffer accordingly everyday if not every hour. The great famine in the 1990’s killed at least a half a million if not twice that during a time when U.S. and ROK aid to North Korea combined were at one of their highest points, as was the degree of interference by North Korean officials in the humanitarian work of international NGO workers trying to alleviate famine conditions inside North Korea.

A Challenge for Humanitarian Action in North Korea


By Roberta Cohen, Co-Chair Emeritus, HRNK, and member, Administrative Council, The Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI)


The UN’s new Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the DPRK, Argentine jurist Tomas Ojea Quintana, has issued a challenge to the UN’s humanitarian and development agencies in North Korea: he has called on them to ensure that their humanitarian programs benefit “vulnerable groups, including those who are in detention facilities, prison camps and political prison camps.” [1]

That this is a population in severe need was made clear in the 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) report which found that political prisoners in North Korea suffer from deliberate starvation, an absence of medical attention as well as cruel and inhuman treatment.[2] The COI estimated that hundreds of thousands perished in the kwan-li-so, North Korea’s secret political prison camps, over the past five decades, and that some 80,000 to 120,000 remain incarcerated today, many of them family members of prisoners.[3] It described their plight as evidence of “extermination,” the crime of “imprisoning a large number of people and withholding the necessities of life so that mass deaths ensue.”[4] In the reeducation through labor camps (kyo-hwa-so) and other detention facilities where thousands more political prisoners are held, death rates are also reported to be high because of malnutrition and diseases related to the lack of food and ill treatment.[5] The COI found violations committed against prisoners in the kwan-li-so, kyo-hwa-so and other facilities to constitute “crimes against humanity.”[6]

In response to the COI’s findings, the UN General Assembly began in 2015 to list “political prisoners” as one of “the most vulnerable groups” in North Korea, along with the more traditionally acknowledged pregnant and lactating women, children, persons with disabilities, and the elderlyin the paragraphs of its resolution on “chronic and acute malnutrition” in North Korea.[7] In 2016, the Assembly went further and called upon North Korea to allow humanitarian agencies access to “all” parts of the country, “including detention facilities.”[8] This resolution was adopted by consensus and also pointed to the “vulnerable” situation of children who had been incarcerated with their families and were “living in detention” in prison camps.[9] The plight of detained children was also highlighted by former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in one of his last reports to the General Assembly on North Korea.[10] And Jan Eliasson, the former Deputy Secretary-General (DSG), speaking before the Security Council in December 2016, affirmed that “the most vulnerable” group in the DPRK is North Korea’s prison population.[11]

A few months prior to the publication of the COI report, Eliasson announced a new UN initiative of the Secretary-Generalthe Human Rights up Front (HRuF) approachintended to “ensure that the UN Secretariat, Programmes and Funds meet the responsibilities given to them by the Charter and Member States” and “respond more effectively when there is a risk that serious violations of international human rights or of humanitarian law could turn into mass atrocities.”[12]

But, despite the COI findings and the commitment of UN leaders to have aid workers react to serious human rights violations, it is not always evident that the aid community on the ground in the DPRK accepts that the most vulnerable are political prisoners whom their humanitarian programs should try to reach. The UN agencies, funds and programmes working in the DPRKcalled the UN Country Teaminclude the World Food Program (WFP), UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and the UN Development Program (UNDP). Their activities are coordinated by a UN Resident Coordinator who reports both to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and UNDP. 

On their websites, the agencies emphasize that they reach the most vulnerable in the DPRK. The WFP website, for example, assures that the organization is “assisting the most vulnerable” in the DPRK, [13] and UNICEF’s website likewise speaks of giving “the world’s most vulnerable children the nutrition, water, and medical supplies they desperately need.”[14] The Country Team’s just concluded 2017 Needs and Priorities document for the DPRK also emphasizes how the agencies will improve the health, nutrition and resilience of “the most vulnerable people” in North Korea.[15]

Many political prisoners are reported to be housed in provinces where agencies conduct operations, and information in recent UN reports and resolutions suggests the need for a broader more inclusive framework in the DPRK than the one driving programs thus far. The UN’s new Strategic Framework (2017-2021), which governs its relations with the DPRK, has as one of its main principles, applying a “human rights-based approach” throughout UN programs. Ably negotiated by the Resident Coordinator on behalf of the Country Team and Headquarters, the Framework offers to support North Korea in carrying out its commitments under UN human rights treaties and under the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of its human rights record.[16] One of these commitments is “free and unimpeded access to all populations in need.” [17] Another is non-discrimination in the distribution of food and health care, and a third, gender equality. All three are a basis for raising with DPRK officials access and provision of aid to political prisoners. The former Secretary-General called these and other UPR commitments “important entry points for dialogue and cooperation on human rights” with the government.[18]

The difficulty of putting such principles into practice was illustrated in 2016 when a typhoon struck North Korea. This article reviews what occurred then and proposes steps to bring humanitarian action more in line with the human rights commitments reflected in General Assembly resolutions, reports of the Secretary-General, appeals of the Special Rapporteur and the guidelines and frameworks of the agencies themselves.

Typhoon Lionrock

In 2016, the typhoon that struck North Hamgyong province in the northeast of the country flooded not only farmlands, homes and buildings (e.g. health clinics, schools), affecting some 600,000 people, but also a reeducation through labor camp, Kyo-hwa-so No. 12, in Jongo-ri, Hoeryong City.

The flooding of the camp was visible on satellite imagery, and HRNK forwarded the images and an analysis to the UN with the request that access be sought to the affected persons.[19] Special Rapporteur Ojea Quintana responded quickly by publicly calling upon the DPRK to allow humanitarian workers access to “persons in detention facilities and prisons” in the flooded areas.[20] DSG Eliasson expressed support for this call, while OCHA officials acknowledged and agreed to take the information under consideration.

The COI report had described Kyo-hwa-so No. 12, as “one of the biggest and perhaps the best-documented ordinary prison camp.” [21] “Many of its inmates” had been “forcibly repatriated from nearby China or had contact with the Christian churches operating in the border region.”[22] Most were reported to suffer from malnutrition and starvation:

… the average prisoner only receive[s] about 300 grams of rough corn porridge or cooked rice with beans per day. This amount of food provides only a fraction of the minimum dietary energy requirement for adults in the DPRK, as calculated by the United Nations.[23]

One female inmatereleased in 2011told the COI that “The small rations left her so hungry that she ate different types of grass, wild mushrooms and tree bark to survive.” She also was witness to “other inmates being beaten for stealing food.”[24] Other sources have also confirmed the “below subsistence level” food rations at the camp, “forcing inmates to eat whatever insects and rodents they are able to trap for themselves.”[25] The COI observed that “Those who do not find additional sources of food are effectively condemned to starving to death.”[26]

The flooding undoubtedly made the food situation far worse in the camp. Experts reported that due to the flooding, the “crop loss” in nearby agricultural fields “may have exacerbated the already severe food shortage for prisoners in the camp.” Furthermore, “the water level in the waste pond from the nearby copper mine has risen.”[27]

At the time of the floods, Kyo-hwa-so No. 12 had an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 inmates, including some 800 to 1,000 women, mostly detained after having been forcibly repatriated from China where they had sought work or to defect to South Korea.[28] Indeed, a separate section for women had been constructed in 2009 to accommodate the increasing number of women being returned and punished.

The decision not to seek access

When humanitarian agency staff at UN headquarters deliberated over whether or not the Country Team should try to reach disaster victims in Kyo-hwa-so No. 12never before had they entered a camp or requested accessthey ultimately decided not to do so. Although their reasons and deliberations were not made public, the arguments against their doing so are well known:
  • Requesting access would rankle North Korean officials and possibly undermine humanitarian operations on behalf of other flood victims and upset non-flood programs as well. 
  • Seeking access to a prison camp is a human rights, not a humanitarian, responsibility. 
  • Going beyond accepted practice was inadvisable, especially since cooperation was going well with North Korean authorities enabling agencies to help many flood victims. 
  • The numbers in the camp were small compared with the needs of non-prisoners affected by the floods.
  • Information provided by satellite imagery could be uncertain. 

Validity of the arguments

Getting along with the government. It is understandable that humanitarian agencies would want to work effectively with the host government and to this end not introduce requests that might rankle the authorities or in some way undermine their programs. But cooperation at the expense of setting aside the important humanitarian goal of reaching all affected populations must be questioned. The DPRK agreed to the principle of “free and unimpeded access to all populations in need” at the Human Rights Council’s review off its human rights record in 2014.[29] Reminding its officials of this pledge and of the humanitarian imperative of reaching the most vulnerable in emergencies would have been in order. In fact, the Country Team reported that the provincial and local authorities who organized the needs assessment and review missions of flooded areas showed “flexibility in accommodating changes to the programme,” and the review mission itself was “based on the requests by mission members.”[30] Humanitarian agencies were close by to Kyo-hwa-so No. 12 since they were given access to Hoeryong City in the broader heavily affected area where the camp is located. And in this particular case, they actually had some leverage because North Korea had requested the assistance and had to listen to the views expressed. While a request for entry to the camp could have been turned down, at least the issue of entering a flooded camp and reaching its vulnerable people would have been on the table as a legitimate ‘ask’ and could be revisited in future.

Governments and insurgent groups around the world are known to obstruct aid to vulnerable populations on ethnic, racial or political grounds, but humanitarian actors pay a heavy price to their profession and its standards if they acquiesce in a government’s neglect of a vulnerable group, especially one to which UN resolutions and reports pay special attention. Making the request for entry would have accorded with the Country Team’s 2017 Needs and Priorities document that speaks of reaching the most vulnerable. It also would have been in line with the UN’s Strategic Framework which supports North Korea’s carrying out of its commitments under the UPR and “connecting” the DPRK to “shared international values.”[31] For the agency staff who fear reprisals and reduction of humanitarian aid programs for making such a request, it is worth noting that North Korea does not deny the existence of reeducation through labor camps, [32] as it does the secret kwan-li-so camps. And the one or two senior UN officials who have raised the kwan-li-so camps in conversations with North Korean officials have faced no retaliation. [33]

Not a humanitarian issue. That access to the camps should be considered solely a human rights and not a humanitarian issue overlooks that the most acute cases of hunger and disease in North Korea can be found in the camps. A recent report by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul—based on interviews with former inmates at Kyo-hwa-so No. 12 who observed some 276 prisoners—estimated that the fatality rate at North Korea’s labor camps was close to 25 percent, with most of the deaths caused by undernourishment and disease. It considered “notable that 8 in 10 North Korean prisoners suffered from malnutrition before death.”[34] In failing to request access to such camps and include prisoners in the vulnerable groups, humanitarian actors risk becoming complicit in the government’s deliberate marginalization and de-humanizing of these people on political grounds. The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Operational Guidelines on the Protection of Persons in Situations of Natural Disasters, [35] which humanitarian agencies have adopted, specifically call on humanitarian actors in disaster situations to:

Accept that human rights underpin humanitarian action. In situations of natural disasters they [humanitarian actors] should therefore respect the human rights of persons affected by disasters at all times and advocate for their promotion and protection to the fullest extent [emphasis added]. Such organizations should not promote, actively participate in, or in any other manner endorse policies or activities leading or likely to lead to human rights violations or abuses.[36]

In many countries, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is the organization that enters prison camps. But in North Korea, the ICRC has not been given such access; nor has the UN Special Rapporteur. The humanitarian agencies operating on the ground have the responsibility to represent the UN system’s “three pillars”human rights, development and peace and security. According to the UNDG Guidance Note on Human Rights for Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams, the Resident Coordinator and the Country Team are expected “to promote” these pillars.[37]

The HRuF approach, introduced into the UN in 2013 called upon the entire UN system to develop “a system wide strategy” when countries face serious violations of human rights. Its application to North Korea should mean that all the operational agencies on the ground place the protection of human rights in a central place, provide and share candid information about people at risk, develop a common information system, and raise issues with the government in the face of serious violations.[38] The UN’s new Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed support for this policy.[39]

Too small numbers. Ignoring thousands of flood victims in detention facilities because of their relatively small numbers is not a persuasive argument. Both the gravity of their situation and the special concern expressed by the United Nations for the plight of political prisoners should be of far greater weight. General Assembly resolutions adopted by consensus have called for the release of North Korea’s political prisoners because of the horrific conditions to which they are subjected and the absence of due process in the country. UN reports and resolutions have also given special attention to those forcibly repatriated because of the inhumane treatment meted out to them, as in Kyo-hwa-so No. 12.[40]

Reliability of satellite imagery. Humanitarian and development agencies have long recognized satellite imagery as a legitimate and credible source of information. In recent years, such imagery has become a common tool for mapping resources in support of the UN’s sustainable development goals worldwide. Since 2003, HRNK has used satellite imagery to confirm the existence of detention facilities in the DPRK.[41] Together with satellite imagery experts at AllSource Analysis, it prepared a ‘baseline’ report on Kyo-hwa-so No. 12 weeks before the flooding, based on archived imagery of the facility and testimony by former prisoners, guards, officials in charge and other sources.[42] When Typhoon Lionrock struck, the experts were easily able to see the changes that had taken place at the facility, in particular the flooding, from the newly acquired satellite imagery.

The UN Commission of Inquiry, chaired by a former justice of the high court of Australia, Michael Kirby, found satellite imagery of campsprovided by professional analysts and supplemented by testimonies of former guards and inmatesconclusive for their findings: 

These images not only prove to the Commission’s satisfaction the continued existence and ongoing operation of large-scale detention facilities. They also provide a clear picture of the evolution of the prison camp structure and corroborate the first-hand accounts received from former prisoners and guards.[43]

Moving Forward

There are a number of steps that could be taken by the UN to deal more effectively with human rights in North Korea and improve the prospects for humanitarian access to prisoners in kyo-hwa-so camps (housing both political and other prisoners) and the kwan-li-so (housing political prisoners).

Training of humanitarian staff

While the Country Team staff received training in the HRuF approach and also in international human rights standards,[44] it received no training about the camps, the needs of people inside them, their location, or their proximity to UN operations. In the case of Typhoon Lionrock, it was NGOs and the Special Rapporteur who alerted the UN to the fact Kyo-hwa-so No. 12 was flooded and that other camps and detention facilities (such as Kwan-li-so Camp No. 25) might also be affected.[45] Because North Korea treats incarcerated men, women and children as non-persons or disposable people, it is essential that humanitarian actors be informed about their plight and vulnerability. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) should hold briefings for humanitarian staff on the relationship between issues such as discrimination in the provision of food and health care and the effectiveness of humanitarian operations on the ground.

The impact of disasters on vulnerable groups also needs to be examined. When drought or other disasters exacerbate food shortages in North Korea, prisoners are reported among the first to die.[46] Their vulnerability becomes clear when one considers that about 70 percent of the population (some 18 million people), according to the Country Team, suffers “food insecurity and undernutrition;” some 15 million need access to basic health services, and 3.5 million, clean water and proper sanitation.[47] Compared to disadvantaged North Koreans, prisoners fare far worse.

The meaning of vulnerability must convey a fuller understanding than what is included in the Country Team’s Needs and Priorities report. Regional bodies like the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have produced case law pertinent to the particular vulnerability of persons deprived of their liberty and the extreme vulnerability of children when confined.[48]

The IASC Operational Guidelines on the Protection of Persons in Situations of Natural Disasters should also be studied as part of the training, as should the UNDG Guidance Note on Human Rights for Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams. The IASC Guidelines speak of “persons with special needs” and suggest:

Identifying as soon as possible persons and groups with a history of being discriminated against prior to the disaster, or with special needs, and monitoring ongoing humanitarian action to avoid that they are discriminated against and intervene if this happens.[49]

The training could be provided by OHCHR, OCHA or outside specialists.

Closer collaboration with the Special Rapporteur and OHCHR

The Resident Coordinator and Country Team should cooperate more closely with the Special Rapporteur and OHCHR. Such cooperation would help fill an important gap since there are no human rights specialists on the Country Team. In his latest report to the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur offered to “work closely” with the Country Team and OHCHR “to follow up on the implementation of the recommendations” that North Korea accepted during the UPR and under its human rights treaty obligations.[50]

The Special Rapporteur and OHCHR could assist the Country Team in developing a strategy for reaching the most vulnerable in the country, promoting non-discrimination in the distribution of food and medical care, and focusing greater attention on gender equality. The Resident Coordinator and the North Korean authorities have “agreed to hold periodic meetings” regarding implementation of the UPR recommendations.[51]

The signing by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the head of UNDP of the Guidance Note on Human Rights for Resident Coordinators and the UN Country Team should open the door to enhanced cooperation and concrete human rights steps on the ground. The Special Rapporteur noted that the Country Team made “significant efforts” to respond to Typhoon Lionrock by bringing in relief assistance to address the widespread damage that affected large numbers of people’s lives and their human rights.[52] However, he also noted that the response overlooked an important human rights concern, namely the “situation of detention centers and correction facilities,”[53] to which access was not requested. Others have pointed to additional problems not acknowledged in the team report[54]that North Korea was said to be using flood aid to repair military roads; [55] or was introducing discriminatory housing policies in rebuilding after the floods in line with its songbun policy;[56] or did not move to reconstruct flood-ravaged areas near the Chinese border (in order to make it more difficult for North Koreans to hide while seeking to defect).[57] These allegations may or may not be true but ignoring them when international aid is involved is not an acceptable solution and one to which the Special Rapporteur and OHCHR could have provided guidance. 

Applying the Human Rights up Front (HRuF) approach

The system wide strategy known as HRuF should be applied as fully as possible in North Korea. General Assembly resolutions have encouraged the UN system “as a whole,” including the “specialized agencies” to address the grave human rights situation in the country.[58] The UN’s Strategic Framework reflects this thinking and should become the foundation for developing a dialogue with North Korean authorities that lead to concrete steps to promote human rights and expand access to vulnerable people.

Reaching the most vulnerable in the country should be one of the principal objectives of this approach. During the floods, humanitarian organizations gained access to three affected counties (Yonsa, Musan and Hoeyryong), but were apparently prevented from visiting three others (Onsong, Kyongwon and Kyonghung) and failed to request access to flooded detention facilities in areas where they were allowed.

Increased access would strengthen humanitarian work and should be promoted under HRuF. WFP’s website currently states: “whatever the weather,” WFP “continues to reach the most vulnerable people.”[59] Making that into a reality not only for WFP but the other agencies as well would accord with the purposes of HRuF. Agencies should know where camps are located and develop a strategic plan to encompass all people reported to be at risk of starvation and ill health. The Country Team’s 2017 Needs and Priorities affirms that,

Humanitarian partners apply a rights-based approach in the formulation and implementation of projects, especially in the targeting of beneficiaries, to address inequalities and reach the most vulnerable people.[60]

In the case of children, the General Assembly has called attention to the vulnerability of “returned or repatriated children, street children, children with disabilities, children whose parents are detained, children living in detention or in institutions and children in conflict with the law.”[61] Even though such children go beyond those to whom the DPRK generally allows access, they should become part of HRuF objectives for UNICEF and the Country Team.

For WHO, requesting access to prison and detention facilities would be broadly beneficial. Tuberculosis is on the rise in the DPRK and is known to be rife in prison camps. WHO has found in other countries that controlling TB in prison protects the population at large, and has introduced Health in Prison Programs.[62] Replicating those programs in North Korea through access to the facilities to which North Korea admitsthe kyo-hwa-sowould be a way to begin.

In supporting the 2018 DPRK census, UNFPA should consider raising questions about the location, number and characteristics of all vulnerable populations, including prisoners, so as to encourage a truly effective humanitarian response.

Backup from UN leadership

For HRuF to be applied effectively, the Secretary-General’s leadership will be needed. Secretary-General Guterres must make clear that not only does he and the heads of agencies stand behind the human rights goals in the UN’s Strategic Framework but that the Resident Coordinator can expect the backup of Headquarters and the agencies when he or other staff seek to apply this approach to the DPRK. In his “Vision Statement,” the Secretary-General expressed his support for “the mainstreaming of human rights across the whole UN system, notably through the Human Rights Up Front initiative,”[63] which he linked to the maintenance of peace and sustainable development in countries.[64]

Conclusion

Over the next five years, the UN’s aid priorities for the DPRK will target nutrition, basic health services, assistance to the victims of natural disasters and more. In pursuit of these objectives, UN agencies should seek to ensure that the humanitarian response they design does in fact reach “the most vulnerable” and that it reflects the values and standards of the organization. Typhoon Lionrock presented an opportunity to raise the subject of access to the camps with the North Korean authorities so that all affected populations could be assisted. It also presented an opportunity to look into other human rights concerns that could affect humanitarian work. Advocating for human rights principles will be a challenge in an environment as difficult as North Korea’s, but the government has accepted some of these principles in theory and the Human Rights Up Front Approach should prove a useful umbrella for linking human rights and humanitarian action and promoting both in practice.

It can be expected that natural disasters will occur again, owing to environmental factors, poor infrastructure and a lack of governmental investment in disaster risk reduction. Expenditures on military and nuclear development, moreover, are likely to exacerbate overall poverty, prompting more sanctions by the world community and aid requests by the DPRK. In responding, humanitarian actors must address the vulnerability of all people in need and integrate this more expansive vision into their planning and programs. No longer should any part of the UN be able to exempt itself from protecting desperately hungry and sick people because of host government objections based on political persecution.


NOTES

[1] UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, A/HRC/34/66, 13 February 2017, para. 48.
[2] UN Human Rights Council, Report of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the DPRK, A/HRC/25/63, 7 February 2014 [henceforth COI report]; and Report of the detailed findings of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the DPRK, A/HRC/25/CRP.1, 7 February 2014 [henceforth COI report 2].
[3] COI report 2, para. 1155. See also David Hawk, CNN, 12 December 2012, http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1212/12/acd.02.html        
[4] COI report 2, para. 1041.
[5] See COI report 2, paras. 788-802; 804-5, 811-12; and David Hawk, The Hidden Gulag: Second Edition, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, 2012, pp. 82-84; and David Hawk, The Hidden Gulag IV: Gender Repression and Prisoner Disappearances, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, 2015, pp. 18-22.    
[6] COI report 2, para. 1161.
[7] UN General Assembly, Resolution on situation of human rights in the DPRK, A/C.3/70/L.35, 30 October 2015, para. 4.
[8] UN General Assembly, Resolution on situation of human rights in the DPRK, A/71/484/Add.3, 19 December 2016, para. 14 (k).
[9] Ibid., para. 2a (viii).
[10] UN General Assembly, Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of human rights in the DPRK, A/71/439, 7 October 2016, paras. 41-2.
[11] UN Security Council, Statement of Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, UN Doc. S/PV.7830, 9 December 2016.
[12] See https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/dsg/statement/2013-12-17/deputy-secretary-generals-remarks-briefing-general-assembly-rights
[14] See https://www.unicefusa.org/donate/help-save-childrens-lives/29091?utm_campaign=EOY_2016&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=20160210_google&utm_content=brand&ms=cpc_dig_2016_misc_20160210_google_brand&initialms=cpc_dig_2016_misc_20160210_google_brand
[15] UN Country Team, DPRKorea Needs and Priorities, March 2017, at https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/hadin%40un.org/15af7c1917ddb4c8?projector=1
[16] UN Strategic Framework for Cooperation between the United Nations and the Government of the DPRK, 2017-2021, pp. 8, 14, 21-2, at http://kp.one.un.org/content/dam/unct/dprk/docs/DPRK%20UN%20Strategic%20Framework%202017-2021%20-%20FINAL.pdf
[17] UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: DPRK, A/HRC/27/10, 2 July 2014; and Add. 1, 12 September 2014.
[18] UN General Assembly, Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of human rights in the DPRK, A/70/393, 25 September 2015, paras. 61-62.
[19] HRNK, “The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) and AllSource Analysis Produce Rapid Assessment of Flooding at Re-Education Prison Labor Camp (Kyo-hwa-so) No. 12,” 16 September 2016, http://www.hrnk.org/uploads/pdfs/Kyo-hwa-so%20No_%2012%20Flooding.pdf
[20] UN OHCHR, “North Korea: UN rights expert calls for increased support for the victims of Typhoon Lionrock,” 21 September 2016, at www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20543&LangID=E; see also UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, A/HRC/34/66, 13 February 2017, para. 10.
[21] See COI report 2, para. 790. 
[22] Ibid.
[23] COI report 2, para. 804.
[24] COI report 2, para. 803.
[25] Daniel Tudor and James Pearson, North Korea Confidential, Tuttle Publishing, 2014, p. 117, as cited in David Hawk, The Hidden Gulag IV: Gender Repression, pp. 14-15.
[26] COI report 2, para. 804; see also David Hawk, The Hidden Gulag IV: Gender Repression, pp. 14-16.
[27] Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr. and Greg Scarlatoiu, North Korea: Flooding at Kyo-hwa-so No. 12 Jongo-ri, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea and AllSource Analysis, 16 September 2016, p. 4.
[28] Hawk, The Hidden Gulag IV: Gender Repression, pp. 4, 16-27.
[29] UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: DPRK, A/HRC/27/10, 2 July 2014; and Add. 1, 12 September 2014.
[30] UN Office of the Resident Coordinator in the DPRK, Joint Review Mission to Flood-Affected Areas in North Hamgyong, Pyongyang, 23 November 2016, p. 4.
[31] UN Strategic Framework, Declaration of Collective Commitment, p. 4.
[32] Associated Press, 7 October 2014.
[33] Conversations with UN humanitarian staff, 2015-2016.
[34] “Fatality rate at N. Korean prisons estimated at 25 pct: report,” Yonhap, 7 March 2017.
[35] UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee, IASC Operational Guidelines on the Protection of Persons in Situations of Natural Disasters, published by Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, January 2011.
[36] Ibid., p. 13.
[37] UN Development Group, UNDG Guidance Note on Human Rights for Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams, signed by Helen Clark, Chair, UNDGroup and Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, at https://undg.org/human-rights/undg-guidance-note-on-human-rights
[38] Human Rights Up Front Initiative, UNDG.org, 2013.
[39] Antonio Guterres, Vision Statement, April 4, 2016, at http://www.un.org/pga/70/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2016/01/4-April_Secretary-General-Election-Vision-Statement_Portugal-4-April-20161.pdf; and Remarks of the Secretary-General to the Security Council Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace,” 10 January 2017.
[40] UN General Assembly, Resolution on situation of human rights in the DPRK, A/71/484/Add.3, 19 December 2016, paras. 14 (b) and (e).
[41] David Hawk, The Hidden Gulag: Exposing North Korea’s Prison Camps, pp. 88-120. 
[42] Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Mike Eley, “North Korea: Kyo-hwa-so No 12, Jongo-ri,” Committee for Human Rights in North Korea and AllSource Analysis, August 30, 2016.
[43] COI report 2, para. 734.
[44] The human rights training was provided by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
[45] UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, A/HRC/34/66, 13 February 2017, para. 15.
[46] David Hawk, North Korea’s Hidden Gulag: Interpreting Reports of Changes in the Prison Camps, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), 27 August 2013, pp. 20-1.
[47] UN Country Team, DPRKorea Needs and Priorities.
[48] See, for example, European Court of Human Rights, Bouyid v. Belgium, 2016, paras. 107 and 110; Popov v. France, 2012, paras. 91 and 102, and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Michael Gayle v. Jamaica, 2005, para. 73.
[49] IASC Operational Guidelines, p. 30.
[50] UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, A/HRC/34/66, 13 February 2017, para. 19.
[51] UN General Assembly, Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of human rights in the DPRK, A/71/439, 7 October 2016, para. 67. See also UN General Assembly, Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of human rights in the DPRK, A/70/393, 25 September 2015, paras. 61-62.
[52] UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, A/HRC/34/66, 13 February 2017, paras. 12 and 14.
[53] Ibid., para. 15.
[54] UN Office of the Resident Coordinator in the DPRK, Joint Review Mission to Flood-Affected Areas in North Hamgyong.
[55] Elizabeth Shim, “North Korea using flood aid to repair military roads, report says,” UPI, 16 December 2016.
[56] “Discriminatory housing policies upheld by the regime,” Daily NK, 11 November 2016.
[57] “N. Korea not rebuilding flood-ravaged areas near border to stem defectors,” Yonhap, 15 January 2017.
[58] UN General Assembly, Resolution on situation of human rights in the DPRK, A/71/484/Add.3, 19 December 2016, para. Paras.17 and 18.
[60] UN Country Team, DPRKorea Needs and Priorities.
[61] UN General Assembly, Resolution on situation of human rights in the DPRK, A/71/484/Add.3, 19 December 2016, para. 2a (viii).
[62] World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/tb/challenges/prisons/en/;  http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-determinants/prisons-and-health/who-health-in-prisons-programme-hipp; and World Health Organization, Prisons and Health, The Health in Prisons Programme,  HIPP, Regional Office for Europe, 2010.
[63] Antonio Guterres, Vision Statement.
[64] Remarks of the Secretary-General to the Security-Council.