Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Call for submissions

The United Nations Human Rights Council is the highest inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe.

In March 2013, the Human Rights Council established the Commission of Inquiry on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). It is the first such in-depth inquiry to be created by the United Nations to investigate the human rights situation in the DPRK.

The Commission of Inquiry is composed of:

  • Mr. Michael Kirby, Chairperson
  • Mr. Marzuki Darusman, and
  • Ms. Sonja Biserko.

The Commissioners are not United Nations staff, not remunerated, and serve in their independent personal expert capacity.

The Commission of Inquiry will present a full written report with its findings and recommendations to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council in March 2014.

The Commission of Inquiry will have to formally submit its report well ahead of the March 2014 session of the Human Rights Council. In order to meaningfully address all the issues shared with the Commission of Inquiry, the Commission of Inquiry will receive information until 3 November 2013.

The Commission of Inquiry invites individuals, groups and organizations to submit information and documentation on the situation of human rights in the DPRK (for the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry, please see attached information).

Procedure for submissions:

  • Submissions should be sent in a written form and must include the contact details for the author(s) of the submission.
  • The Commission of Inquiry will receive submissions until 3 November 2013, midnight Geneva time.
  • Submissions may be sent:

By email to:      coidprksubmissions@ohchr.org
By post to:       Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
UNOG-OHCHR, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

  • Authors should specify if the submissions – or parts of them - should be treated confidentially by the Commission of Inquiry.

Due to resource and time constraints, the Commission of Inquiry will accept information and documentation in English only. Information in Korean and Japanese not exceeding more than five (5) pages will also be accepted when submitting parties do not have the capacity to provide an English translation.

For more information on the Commission of Inquiry:

Mandate and methods of work


The Commission of Inquiry is mandated to look into “systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights” in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in particular:

  • Violations of the right to food,
  • Violations associated with prison camps,
  • Torture and inhuman treatment,
  • Arbitrary detention,
  • Discrimination,
  • Violations of freedom of expression,
  • Violations of the right to life,
  • Violations of freedom of movement, and
  • Enforced disappearances, including in the form of abductions of nationals of other States.

Methods of work

The Commission of Inquiry will systematically collect and assess relevant information for its investigation and document victims’ testimonies, accounts of survivors and witnesses, including, where appropriate, through public hearings.

The Commission of Inquiry will conduct its investigation with a view to ensuring full institutional and personal accountability, in particular where violations may amount to crimes against humanity.

In carrying out its work, the Commission of Inquiry and its Secretariat staff will be guided by the principles of independence, impartiality, objectivity, transparency, integrity and the principle of “do no harm”, including in relation to guarantees of confidentiality and the protection of victims and witnesses.

For more information on the mandate and methods of work Commission of Inquiry:

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Disclaimer: Any links to external web pages are provided for informational purposes only, without implying that the Commission of Inquiry endorses their content or the organisations and persons providing it. The Commission of Inquiry also does not attest to the correctness, factuality, appropriateness, or legality of such external contents.