It is a welcome development that President Trump will soon meet with North Korea’s Leader Kim Jong Un. The meeting may represent a turning point in the diplomatic relations between the US and North Korea, and unravel highly pressing security issues for the US, Northeast Asia and the international community as a whole.
President Trump should heed the point of view of the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He should combine talks on denuclearization with an open and firm discussion on the serious human rights situation in North Korea. This issue should be an integral component of the agenda of the meeting so as to send the message that respect and protection of human rights are issues of essential importance to the US and the international community. Depending on how the dialogue will unfold, President Trump should propose diplomatic and economic incentives for North Korea to begin improving its human rights record.
Issues that should be on the table should mirror concerns and issues highlighted in the latest report of the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. They include:
- the situation of persons who are forcibly repatriated in North Korea;
- the use of violence against children, men, women and pregnant women in detention centers near the border with China;
- the situations of abducted foreign nationals and foreign nationals deprived of their liberty;
- granting access to North Korean detention facilities to the International Committee of the Red Cross;
- restrictions to freedom of information;
- food security for vulnerable groups of North Korean society; and
- inviting human rights monitors to undertake an on-site mission in North Korea relatively soon.
It is encouraging that reports strongly suggest that the US President is prepared to raise human rights issues during the momentous meeting. The way the President will frame these issues and the outcome he will provoke can considerably contribute to the advancement of human rights in one of the most repressive countries of the world.
 The report is available at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N17/290/81/PDF/N1729081.pdf?OpenElement, (accessed on April, 18, 2018).