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Monitoring System to Hold North Korea Accountable for Rights Abuse

  • Lisa Schlein

FILE - United Nation Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore during a news conference at the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Nov. 23, 2016.

Progress is being made in setting up a system to monitor and document human rights violations in North Korea, particularly those that may amount to crimes against humanity, according to the U.N.

The so-called Accountability Project for the DPRK, mandated last year by the U.N., calls for establishing a central data bank where information and evidence of human rights abuse in North Korea can be stored.

A high-level expert to lead the project has been appointed and hiring is under way for four more staff members who will be based in Seoul and Geneva, according to Deputy High Commissioner Kate Gilmore.

She says work has begun on the electronic repository, the first independent and comprehensive information system on human rights violations committed in North Korea.

"It will bring together a wealth of information from a wide range of actors," Gilmore said. "It will be publicly available, allowing for comprehensive and annotated searching. And this tool will facilitate the building of cases that eventually could be used for the purposes of criminal prosecution."

Gilmore says she hopes the recent thaw in relations between North and South Korea during the Winter Olympics will open other channels for serious discussions with North Korean authorities regarding human rights concerns.

North Korea has not commented on the U.N. project.