Saturday, December 24, 2016

North Korea ratifies the UN disability convention

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea has now ratified, without reservation, the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). According to the official records of the UN Office of Legal Affairs Treaty Collection, the ratification became effective on December 6, 2016. Pursuant to the terms of the Convention, the government will now be responsible for submitting a report on its compliance to the treaty within 2 years, by January 6, 2019, and thereafter every 4 years.

Other treaties ratified

This is now the sixth of the twelve major UN human rights treaties that the DPRK has ratified. The others are:

  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1981)
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1981)
  • Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (2001)
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990)
  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, regarding the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (2014) (OPSC)

Reporting compliance

According to the UN database on reporting compliance, the DPRK has failed to submit reports timely for the two International Covenants referenced above -- both are more than 8 years overdue.  No reports are currently due for CEDAW or the CRC, but both items were submitted only recently (April and May 2016) after delays of 10 years and 4 years. Its initial report under the OPSC is due this month, December 10, 2016; there is no information yet regarding whether this report has been filed on time. 

Total ratifications of the CRPD

Nonetheless this latest ratification by the DPRK is welcome news. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is rapidly approaching universal ratification. It now has 172 state parties that have ratified it (or acceded to it), which represents approximately 90% of the total possible countries. 

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