SEOUL – United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in North Korea regretted on Tuesday that violations of basic human rights in the country have not found a place in the agenda for dialogue on peace and denuclearization.
Neither the Panmunjom Declaration (signed by the two Koreas) nor the joint statement signed between North Korea and the United States include any explicit reference to human rights, Tomas Ojea Quintana said at a press conference in Seoul.
This, according to Quintana, constitutes the greatest challenge for the international community.
He called on the need for North Korea to have a dialogue with the UN on the human rights situation in the country, which he reiterated was very serious.
North Korea ranks as one of the worst countries in the world in terms of human rights violation, according to a 2014 UN report, which had highlighted multiple cases of torture and state persecution.
Although many South Korean organizations have denounced the fact that the issue has been ignored in both the summits held this year between Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Quintana said he respects Seoul’s current dialogue strategy of prioritizing the peace process.
Quintana stressed that his fourth visit to the country was to ensure the rapprochement process includes discussions on the human rights situation so that the peace and denuclearization process is credible and sustainable.