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10 An Overview and Analysis of the Second Universal Periodic Review of the DPRK: Universality and Politicization of Human Rights

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Chapter Summary

Over the past two decades, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has started to take action to promote human rights. This shows that the DPRK authorities have accepted the idea of human rights, at least in principle. In addition, the DPRK government, which has ratified several human rights conventions, including two International Covenants, argues that it continues efforts to ensure the enjoyment of human rights. More recently, a distinctive change has also been shown in the field of human rights, especially through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). In this review, despite downsides to the human rights situation in the DPRK, the government actively involved itself in the discussions on the DPRK’s human rights issues. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, Marzuki Darusman, welcomed the proactive approach to the UPR process by the government in his report to the General Assembly. However, this language also suggests that the government has started to make a diplomatic row over human rights. Therefore, there are not only positive but also negative aspects to its human rights performance. Furthermore, an important point to remember is that the situation of human rights in the DPRK is such that not all human rights are fully guaranteed as claimed by the government. Bearing in mind that the regime is committing serious human rights violations, this paper aims to identify the DPRK’s international human rights policies and to clarify problems encountered in the UN human rights mechanisms by focusing especially on the second UPR of the DPRK.



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