U.N. Special Rapporteur for North Korean Human Rights Tomás Ojea Quintana said in a new report the U.N. Security Council bears responsibility for lack of action on North Korea human rights. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
March 10 (UPI) -- The United Nations could be asking South Korea and other U.N. member states to do more to improve the human rights situation in North Korea -- a sensitive topic for Seoul as it seeks to bring Pyongyang back to talks.
U.N. Special Rapporteur for North Korean Human Rights Tomás Ojea Quintana noted in a new report to the U.N. Human Rights Council that the U.N. Security Council lacked action on North Korea rights abuses.
South Korea should properly implement the North Korean Human Rights Act, Quintana said, according to Donga Ilbo and Yonhap on Wednesday.
The law passed in the National Assembly in 2016, providing a framework for the creation of a North Korean Human Rights Foundation Archive in South Korea.
The archive would have served as an official record of Pyongyang's rights abuses, but never opened after the departure of former President Park Geun-hye.
In his report, Quintana also may have raised concerns regarding an anti-leafleting law that passed in South Korea's parliament in December. The bill was enacted after North Korean official Kim Yo Jong complained about activists at the border.
The U.N investigator said North Koreans continue to be subjected to serious human rights violations from state agencies. He added that the U.N. Security Council, which includes China and Russia as permanent members, should bear responsibility for not taking action amid violations, reports said.
Quintana said South Korea should make greater efforts to protect North Koreans in third countries after they flee the regime, according to the Donga.
North Korea has denied all human rights abuse allegations. The country depends on U.N. agencies like the World Health Organization for aid amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Korean Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said Wednesday that the COVID-19 variant is spreading quickly around the world, and the situation will "not be resolved in a short period of time."
North Korea has reported zero cases of the novel coronavirus to the World Health Organization and has barred foreign aid workers from directly accessing its population.