GENEVA (9 September 2016) - In accordance with a resolution* adopted by the Human Rights Council on 23 March, the UN High Commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has designated two independent human rights experts, Ms. Sonja Biserko and Ms. Sara Hossain, to support the work of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Mr. Tomás Ojea Quintana.
The Human Rights Council decided to establish, for a period of six months, a group of independent experts at its thirty-first session on 23 March 2016. The group’s role is to explore appropriate approaches to seek accountability for human rights violations in the DPRK, in particular violations amounting to crimes against humanity, and recommend practical mechanisms of accountability to secure truth and justice for victims, including the International Criminal Court.
The same resolution extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of one year.
Mr. Ojea Quintana (Argentina), Ms. Biserko (Serbia) and Ms. Hossain (Bangladesh) will meet from 20 to 23 September in Geneva to set-up the programme of work of the group of independent experts.
The report of the group of independent experts will be presented during the March 2017 session of the Human Rights Council.
Biography of the Special Rapporteur:
Mr. Tomás Ojea Quintana (Argentina): Lawyer, with more than 20 years of experience in human rights. Worked as a lawyer at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. Former Head of OHCHR human rights programme in Bolivia. Represented the Argentinean NGO “Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo” in cases concerning child abduction during the military regime. Served as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar from 2008 to 2014.
Biographies of the two independent experts:
Ms. Sonja Biserko (Serbia): Founder and President of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia. Founding member of the Centre for Anti-War Action in the Belgrade Forum for International Relations. Senior fellow in the United States Institute of Peace. Received several human rights awards, including the Human Rights Award of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights in New York and the Human Rights Award of the University of Oslo. Member of the former commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Ms. Sara Hossain (Bangladesh): Barrister, practicing in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh for over 20 years, with focus on constitutional and public interest litigation, including on freedom of expression, economic and social rights, and gender justice. Ran the South Asia Programme at INTERIGHTS from 1997 to 2003. Served as a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists, and founder Director of the South Asia Women’s Fund. Recipient of awards, including from the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.
* The text of resolution 31/18 is available here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15107&LangID=E
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