June 6, 2018
Kim Jong Un
Chairman, State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Building of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Pyongyang
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Dear Chairman Kim Jong Un,
As your government undertakes new efforts to increase its engagement with the rest of the world, we urge you to move rapidly to institute lasting improvements to the dire human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
In the Panmunjeom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity, and Unification of the Korean Peninsula that you adopted along with the president of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Moon Jae-in, on April 27, 2018, you pledged to improve inter-Korean relations by encouraging cooperation and exchanges between civil organizations, resolve the humanitarian issues that resulted from the division of the nation, and promote balanced economic growth. On April 20, you also said your priority was improving the standard of living of your people.
We welcome increased dialogue but have yet to see actions on the part of your government that would signal clear improvements in the lives of DPRK citizens or in their basic rights and freedoms. As 40 international civil society groups told President Moon in an April 9, 2018 letter, any real, long-term resolution of security issues on the Korean peninsula must include addressing the repressive rights record of your government and a strong commitment to fundamental and wide-ranging reforms. We accordingly urge you to:
- Act on United Nations Human Rights Recommendations
The DPRK has signed and ratified several human rights treaties in addition to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the United Nations Charter itself, all of which obligate your country to cooperate with a variety of UN institutions and treaty bodies and require much more engagement from your government.
During 2017, your government had some limited re-engagement with international human rights mechanisms, including the CRC Committee, the CEDAW Committee, and the visit of Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the DPRK, a first for a UN thematic special rapporteur.