18 February 2014


From the report (A/HRC/25/63) of the UN commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which among other things recommends that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea -
a) Undertake profound political and institutional reforms without delay to introduce genuine checks and balances upon the powers of the Supreme Leader and the Workers’ Party of Korea; such changes should include an independent and impartial judiciary, a multiparty political system and elected people’s assemblies at the local and central levels that emerge from genuinely free and fair elections; reform the security sector by vetting the entire officers’ corps for involvement in human rights violations and by limiting the functions of the Korean People’s Army to defending the nation against external threats; and dismantle the State Security Department and place the Ministry of Public Security under transparent democratic oversight. An independent constitutional and institutional reform commission, consisting of respected members of society in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, should be constituted to guide this process and should be assisted by appropriate international experts; 
b) Acknowledge the existence of human rights violations, including the political prison camps described by the commission in the present report; provide international humanitarian organizations and human rights monitors with immediate access to the camps and their surviving victims; dismantle all political prison camps and release all political prisoners; and clarify with full detail the fate of any disappeared persons who cannot be readily traced; 
c) Reform the Criminal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure to abolish vaguely worded “anti-State” and “anti-People” crimes and to fully enshrine the right to a fair trial and due process guarantees articulated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; enforce existing provisions in the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure that prohibit and criminalize the use of torture and other inhuman means of interrogation that are illegal under international law; reform the ordinary prison system so as to ensure humane conditions of detention for all inmates deprived of liberty; end reprisals against persons on the basis of guilt by association; and abolish immediately the practice of forcibly resettling the families of convicted criminals; 
d) Declare and implement an immediate moratorium on the imposition and execution of the death penalty, followed without undue delay by the abolition of the death penalty both in law and in practice; 
e) Allow the establishment of independent newspapers and other media; allow citizens to freely access the Internet, social media, international communications, foreign broadcasts and publications, including the popular culture of other countries; and abolish compulsory participation in mass organizations and indoctrination sessions;\ 
f) Introduce education to ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and abolish any propaganda or educational activities that espouse national, racial or political hatred or war propaganda; 
g) Allow Christians and other religious believers to exercise their religion independently and publicly, without fear of punishment, reprisal or surveillance; 
h) End discrimination against citizens on the basis of their perceived political loyalty or the sociopolitical background of their families, including in matters of access to education and employment; dismantle the neighbourhood watch (inminban), the secret resident registration file system, and all surveillance of persons and their communications that serve purposes of political oppression and/or are not subject to effective judicial and democratic control; and publicly acknowledge the extent of surveillance practices carried out in the past and provide citizens with access to their resident registration file; 
i) Take immediate measures to ensure gender equality in practice, such as by providing equal access for women in public life and employment; eradicate discriminatory laws, regulations and practices affecting women; take measures to address all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence, sexual and gender-based violence by State agents and/or within State institutions; and respond immediately and effectively to trafficking in women, and address the structural causes that make women vulnerable to such violations; 
j) Ensure that citizens can enjoy the right to food and other economic and social rights without discrimination; pay particular attention to the needs of women and vulnerable groups, such as street children, the elderly and persons with disabilities; promote agricultural, economic and financial policies based on democratic participation, good governance and non-discrimination; and legalize and support free market activities, internal and external trade and other independent economic conduct that provide citizens with a livelihood; 
k) In the light of the past expenditures by the leadership, the military and security apparatus, realign priorities and dedicate the resources made available to ensure, as necessary, freedom from hunger and other essential minimum standards for citizens, including those citizens serving in the armed forces; 
l) Where necessary to ensure the right to food, seek international humanitarian assistance without delay; provide international humanitarian organizations with free and unimpeded access to all populations in need, including for the purposes of effective monitoring; and hold accountable State officials who illegally divert humanitarian aid for improper purposes; 
m) Abolish the de facto prohibition on foreign travel imposed on ordinary citizens; decriminalize illegal border crossings and introduce border controls that conform to international standards; renounce orders to shoot and kill at the border; cease to regard citizens repatriated from China as political criminals or to subject them to imprisonment, execution, torture, arbitrary detention, deliberate starvation, illegal cavity searches, forced abortions and other sexual violence; and abolish the State’s compulsory designation of places of residence and employment, as well as the requirement to obtain a permit for domestic travel outside a person’s designated province; 
n) Provide the families and nations of origin of all persons who have been abducted, or otherwise forcibly disappeared, with full information on their fate and whereabouts, if they have survived; allow those who remain alive, and their descendants, to return immediately to their countries of origin; and, in close cooperation with their families and nations of origin, identify and repatriate the physical remains of those who have died; 
o) Allow separated families to unite, including by allowing citizens to travel or emigrate where they choose; and immediately provide such persons with facilities for unmonitored communications by way of mail, telephone, email and any other means of communication; 
p) Prosecute and bring to justice those persons most responsible for alleged crimes against humanity; appoint a special prosecutor to supervise this process; ensure that victims and their families are provided with adequate, prompt and effective reparation and remedies, including by knowing the truth about the violations that have been suffered; launch a people-driven process to establish the truth about the violations; provide adults and children with comprehensive education on national and international law and practice on human rights and democratic governance; and seek international advice and support for transitional justice measures; 
q) Take immediate steps to end all other human rights violations and to address the human rights concerns raised by the commission in the present report, as well as in successive resolutions of the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, in the procedures of universal periodic review and in the reports of special procedures mandate holders and the treaty bodies; 
r) Ratify without delay the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization; 
s) Accept immediately a field-based presence and technical assistance from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other relevant United Nations entities to help to implement the above-mentioned recommendations.