United Nations Human Rights Office

A new United Nations field-based human rights office is to open in Seoul in the coming weeks. The establishment of the office follows a recommendation of the UN Commission of Inquiry, which stated:

“The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, with full
support from the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, should establish
a structure to help to ensure accountability for human rights violations in the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in particular where such violations amount to
crimes against humanity. The structure should build on the collection of evidence and
documentation work of the commission, and further expand its database. It should be
field-based, supported by adequate personnel deployed to the region so as to enjoy
sustained access to victims and witnesses. In addition to informing the work of human
rights reporting mechanisms and serving as a secure archive for information provided
by relevant stakeholders, the work of such a structure should facilitate United Nations
efforts to prosecute, or otherwise render accountable, those most responsible for
crimes against humanity.”

On 1st June, Lord UN Human Rights Office, SeoulAlton asked the UK Government “whether the proposed United Nations field office in South Korea will monitor human rights violations in North Korea.”

In response, Baroness Anelay of St Johns, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, noted that the UN field office should “enhance the engagement and capacity-building of various stakeholders and…maintain the visibility of the human rights situation in the DPRK.”