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UN expert on North Korean human rights to visit South Korea


GENEVA (13 June 2019) - A UN expert on human rights in North Korea will visit South Korea from 17 to 21 June. 

Tomás Ojea Quintana, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, will meet with senior members of the South Korean Government, North Korean escapees, representatives of civil society as well as members of the diplomatic community and other stakeholders to understand the current human rights situation in North Korea.

Despite repeated requests for a country visit, North Korea has not granted the UN expert access to the country. 

The Special Rapporteur regularly visits the region and reports annually to the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. The upcoming visit is his sixth to South Korea since his appointment by the Human Rights Council in March 2016. He last visited Seoul in January 2019. 

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on Friday 21 June, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (local time) at the Korea Press Centre (124, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu), Seoul. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists. 

Ojea Quintana will report his findings and recommendations to the UN General Assembly in October 2019


Mr. Tomás OJEA QUINTANA (Argentina) was designated as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK by the UN Human Rights Council in 2016. Mr. Ojea Quintana, a lawyer with more than 20 years of experience in human rights, worked for the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, and represented the Argentinian NGO “Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo” in cases concerning child abduction during the military regime. He also led cases of criminal corporate responsibility. He is a former Head of OHCHR human rights programme in Bolivia, and served as the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar from 2008 to 2014. 

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity. 

UN Human Rights, country page: DPRK 

OHCHR Seoul Office 

For more information and media requests please contact: Ms. Madoka Saji (+82 2 725 3525) or write to msaji@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: Mr Jeremy Laurence – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)  

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