GENEVA (21 September 2016) – The new United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Tomás Ojea Quintana, today called for increased support for the victims of Typhoon Lionrock which devastated the North-Eastern part of the country.
According to official figures, 138 people were killed and 400 people remain missing. The UN estimates that 140,000, including pregnant women, persons with disabilities, older persons and children, require assistance.
While welcoming national efforts for rebuilding and reconstruction, Mr. Ojea Quintana urged the international community to increase the support for on-going humanitarian efforts on the ground. “Given the scale of destruction, the number of individuals affected, and the fact that winter is rapidly approaching, time is of the essence,” he stressed.
“Such aids are now critical to protect the rights to food, health and adequate housing of those affected by Typhoon Lionrock,” Special Rapporteur said noting the sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council exclude humanitarian assistance
“I call on the Government of North Korea to ensure full access to those in need, including persons in detentions facilities and prisons, by humanitarian workers,” the human rights expert underscored.
Mr. Ojea Quintana also expressed his deep condolences for those killed.
Mr. Tomás Ojea Quintana (Argentina) was designated as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK by the UN Human Rights Council in 2016. Mr. Ojea Quintana, a lawyer with more than 20 years of experience in human rights, worked for the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, and represented the Argentinian NGO “Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo” in cases concerning child abduction during the military regime. He is a former Head of OHCHR human rights programme in Bolivia, and served as the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar from 2008 to 2014. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/CountriesMandates/KP/Pages/SRDPRKorea.aspx
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
UN Human Rights, country page – DPRK: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/KPIndex.aspx
OHCHR Seoul Office: http://seoul.ohchr.org/EN/Pages/HOME.aspx
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