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UN Human Rights Chief visits the Republic of Korea, opens office to work on DPRK human rights issues

GENEVA/SEOUL (22 June 2015) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Tuesday begins a three-day official visit to Seoul, Republic of Korea, where he will open a new UN Human Rights office to work on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly referred to as North Korea.

In accordance with one of the recommendations of the ground-breaking February 2014 report of the independent international Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK, the 47-member UN Human Rights Council last year requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish “a field-based structure to strengthen monitoring and documentation of the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” It also requested the office to engage in technical assistance and advocacy with a wide range of partners. High Commissioner Zeid will officially open the field-based structure in Seoul on Tuesday.

During his visit to Seoul, the High Commissioner is also scheduled to meet President Park Geun-hye as well as a number of high-level Government and State officials and the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission. He will also meet civil society organisations to discuss the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Korea, as well as human rights issues in the Republic of Korea.

High Commissioner Zeid will also visit a group of women victims of sexual slavery during the Second World War, women who were referred to as “comfort women”.

On Wednesday, 24 June, Zeid will deliver a speech at Yonsei University on "Korea in the human rights world".
On Thursday, 25 June 2015, at the end of his visit, the High Commissioner will hold a press conference at 16:00 Korea Standard Time at E-Room Center at Yoido, 22 Euisadang-daero, Youngdeungpo-ku.

ENDS

*See Commission of Inquiry report and related materials at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/CoIDPRK/Pages/CommissionInquiryonHRinDPRK.aspx

The webpage of the UN Special Rapporteur on the DPRK can be viewed at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/KPIndex.aspx

For more information please contact:
In Geneva: Ravina Shamdasani: +41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org or Cecile Pouilly: +41 22 917 9310 / cpouilly@ohchr.org

In Seoul: Rupert Colville (for the duration of the mission): SMS +41 79 506 1088 / rcolville@ohchr.org

Learn more about the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Seoul, in English and Korean:
Website: seoul.ohchr.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/UnrightsSeoul
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UnrightsSeoul
Naver: http://blog.naver.com/ohchr_seoul