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OHCHR in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea


The Office monitors and documents the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), including with a view to promoting accountability for past and ongoing human rights violations. The Office implements the Human Rights Council (HRC) resolutions 34/24, 40/20 and 46/7 on strengthening OHCHR’s capacity with dedicated experts on legal accountability documenting and information analysis in reference to international criminal law standards, and developing possible accountability strategies. The Office works to maintain the visibility and raise awareness of the situation of human rights in the DPRK through public reporting, advocacy and engagement with governments, UN agencies and civil society organisations. The Office supports the development of the capacity of government actors, civil society activists, jurists, as well as the victims themselves to bring improvements to the respect and protection of human rights in the DPRK. The Office provides secretariat support to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK.

Type of engagement Field-based structure
Year established 2015
Field offices Seoul (based in the Republic of Korea. No access to the DPRK)
Number of staff 10
Annual budget needs US$ 161,000


  • The Office has continued it's monitoring, documentation and analysis, which has helped preserve information for possible truth, reconciliation and future accountability processes, and informed the international community of the ongoing human rights situation in the DPRK - including through its regular reporting and briefings to the Human Rights Council, General Assembly and the Security Council. International criminal law experts within the office also analysed the information collected from these interviews and other stakeholders to determine whether human rights violations identified may amount to crimes under international law.
  • The Office has enhanced visibility on the situation of human rights in the DPRK through advocacy, outreach activities and through its social media presence.
  • The Office organised several seminars/workshops, briefings and trainings to CSOs, government agencies and victims groups on topics including women's rights, truth and justice processes, and monitoring and documentation of human rights violations for both advocacy, and judicial accountability purposes. Support from OHCHR has improved the capacity of stakeholders to monitor and document human rights violations and engagement with treaty bodies, special procedures and the Universal Periodic Review.
  • The Office has established two civil society core groups consisting of escapees from the DPRK and one group consisting of CSOs working on accountability for improved engagement and coordination with civil society activists working on DPRK human rights issues for sharing information and analysis on the human rights situation in the DPRK.
  • The Office has strengthened its efforts towards accountability including by establishing an electronic information and evidence repository. It will serve as a central archive for the collection and preservation of information and evidence on serious human rights violations in the DPRK, with a view to assist future accountability processes in providing victims with their right to justice, to remedy, and to restoration of their dignity.

Partners and Donors

Partners: ROK Government, civil society, UN agencies, academics, media, international organizations.

Donors: Australia, Japan, Netherlands, Republic of Korea.

UN Human Rights Focus Areas

Thematic pillars
  • Mechanisms: Increasing implementation of the international human rights mechanisms outcomes
  • Peace and Security: Early warning, prevention and protection of human rights in situations of conflict and insecurity
  • Accountability: Strengthening rule of law and accountability for human rights violations
  • Participation: Enhancing & protecting civic space and people’s participation
  • Inequalities
  • Corruption
  • Civic space
  • Climate change
  • People on the move
Spotlight populations
  • Women
  • Persons with disabilities

Last reviewed: May 2021