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In March 2013, the 47 member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously adopted a resolution to establish a commission of inquiry on human rights in North Korea. With a mandate to investigate “the systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights” in North Korea, the commission conducted public hearings and private interviews, and collected information from U.N. member states and entities. The commission submitted its report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in March 2014, finding that “in many instances, the violations found entailed crimes against humanity based on state policies.”
On April 14, the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at Brookings and the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) hosted an address by Michael Kirby, chair of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea (COI), to present its findings and recommendations. Following the keynote address, Marcus Noland of the Peterson Institute for International Economics and an HRNK board member, commented on the COI report and discussed policy implications for the United Nations and its member states, and possible impact on North Korea and its people.