On Wednesday Tomás Ojea Quintana, the new United Nations Special Rapporteur for North Korean human rights, met with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in Seoul to consult on plans to again bring a resolution before the United Nations Security Council next month to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
The U.N. Commission of Inquiry issued a report comparing ongoing atrocities in North Korea to those committed by Nazi Germany, and documenting a network of political prisons in the country incarcerating nearly 120,000 men, women and children, as well as widespread and systematic abuses that include torture, enslavement, rape and murder.
The recent election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president has raised questions over whether his administration will prioritize support for human rights abroad. Trump has said he would be willing to meet informally with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without any pre-conditions.
Rights advocates are concerned the President-elect will be willing to overlook the North’s human rights violations and drop calls for further U.N. rebukes in exchange for stronger support from China and Russia to halt Pyongyang’s nuclear program.