(Seoul, February 17, 2014) Human Liberty, a global non-profit movement working to protect and promote human rights worldwide, announced today that it is working with a leading global law firm Hogan Lovells to produce an independent legal opinion on the North Korean human rights situation to support the United Nations (UN) Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in North Korea. Hogan Lovells’ report is notable because the Republic of Korea’s government has given an access to the additional material beyond those available to the UN COI. In addition, the report is expected to illustrate integral connection between the North Korea’s nuclear program and their systemic human rights violations.
The Republic of Korea’s Ambassador for Human Rights, Dr. Jung-Hoon Lee, who is also the head of the Human Liberty Center at Yonsei University which was established in January, said, “Acknowledging the significance of an independent legal opinion, the Korean government will be able to provide Hogan Lovells with additional records and testimony beyond those made available to the UN COI. We hope that Hogan Lovells’ report will support the COI findings and urge the UN Security Council to refer the case to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.” He added, “Now there are two ‘red lines’ drawn for North Korea: one for its nuclear weapons program and the other for its human rights violations. Starting from now all efforts must be consolidated and funneled to implement the recommendations so thoughtfully crafted by the COI.”
Paul Dacam, partner at Hogan Lovells said, “The UN COI report published today is a very significant milestone in bringing to light the serious human rights and humanitarian situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We will prepare an independent legal opinion as to whether the evidence now available describes systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights and amount to crimes against humanity. We will also review as to whether there is now a reasonable basis for the UN Security Council to refer a case to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.”
The brief is expected to also focus on the integral connection between the North Korea’s nuclear program and their systemic human rights violations. The brief will seek to examine evidence of human rights violations associated with the North Korean nuclear program ranging from a diversion of government resources away from feeding the North Korean population to chilling reports of slave labor being used in both constructing and testing nuclear weapons in North Korea.
Following the Hogan Lovells’ legal brief in March, Human Liberty will explore the path to create a reparations fund for victims of the North Korean regime. Lord David Alton, Chairman of All Parliamentary Group (APG) for North Korea Human Rights in the U.K. Parliament and a board member of Human Liberty said, “In the future, I hope that supporters of North Korean human rights in the U.K. Parliament – as well as other parliamentary bodies around the world – can work with private sector law firms to try to develop a reparations fund for victims of the North Korean regime through the identification and seizure of assets outside North Korea belonging to those responsible for these systemic human rights abuses.”
In January, Human Liberty established Human Liberty Center under Institute for Modern Korean Studies at Yonsei University’s Graduate School of International Studies(GSIS) in Seoul, South Korea. The center focuses on educating and promoting human rights in North Korea through working with the private sector, including leading law firms and professional associations.
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Human Liberty is an international non-profit movement dedicated to protecting fundamental human rights by promoting the freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations, 1948).
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