Navi Pilay, the sitting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued a damning critique of some of the worst human rights situations in the world during her speech to the Human Rights Council 20th Special Session yesterday.
As expected, North Korea was among the countries on the list, as Pilay raised issues including political prison camps and public executions. She also indirectly cited China in the context of ongoing concerns over forced repatriations.
“The situation in the DPRK remains of serious concern, particularly the issue of political prison camps, public executions and the persisting food shortage,” she declared.
Therefore, she went on, “I call on the DPRK authorities to allow access to independent experts and organizations to the country. I also urge neighboring countries to respect the principle of ‘non-refoulement’ as there are reports of DPRK citizens forced to return to their country after seeking international protection.”
Meanwhile, South Korea’s representative in Geneva, Ambassador Park Sang Gi noted subsequently, “I sympathize with the High Commissioner’s concerns over North Korea’s human rights situation. Political prison camps are an example of the systematic and serious human rights violation being committed inside North Korea.”
He then went on to say, “We add our voice to the High Commissioner’s appeal for countries neighboring North Korea to respect the principle of non-refoulement.”