In February 2014, Michael Kirby, a former Australian judge led the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on North Korea’s alleged human rights violations. The COI, as it’s called, spawned a massive 372-page report detailing wide-ranging abuses, including prison camps, systematic torture, starvation, and killings comparable to Nazi-era atrocities.
In fact, Kirby himself said: “The United Nations is about to meet a moment of truth. The essential question will be whether the United Nations will stay the course and adhere to making the principle of accountability of great crimes a reality.”
Well here we are a year later. The UN just passed another resolution condemning rights abuses in the so-called Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea. It’s the same process that’s been followed time and time again for more than a decade. Has any difference been made? That’s the question I put to Phil Robertson, Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division.
What are your thoughts? North Korea isn’t the only country with human rights violations, so what must we do as a collective society to bring about their end? More importantly, are we willing to take up that challenge?