Press Statement
Robert R. King
Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues
Washington, DC
November 5, 2012

The United States appreciates the report by UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, Marzuki Darusman, and finds it regrettable that the DPRK government continues to exclude him from visiting the country. We hope the DPRK will recognize the benefits of cooperating with Mr. Darusman, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and other thematic Special Rapporteurs.

The people of the DPRK continue to suffer from widespread human rights violations. The Special Rapporteur notes reports of the extensive use of political prison camps, poor prison conditions and prisoners being subjected to forced labor, and torture, and has called on the UN General Assembly and the international community to consider setting up a more detailed mechanism of inquiry. We look forward to future reporting on this topic by the Special Rapporteur.

The Special Rapporteur also notes severe restrictions on the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, and assembly, despite constitutional guarantees of these rights. The Special Rapporteur notes deep concerns about several articles in the Criminal Code that are either not in line with international standards or contain vague terms that allow for misinterpretation and abuse by the State.

The United States remains deeply concerned about the well-being of DPRK citizens. Improving conditions for the people in the DPRK requires an integrated and collaborative approach. We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s insights on constructive interventions and how to encourage non-traditional partners to take up the issue of human rights in the DPRK.