The exceptionally poor human rights record of North Korea has for long remained eclipsed by the issue of arms control. The Commission of Inquiry report of 2014 nevertheless centre-staged human rights, and there is increasing evidence to the fact that the two issues are connected. The international community has nevertheless been divided over whether to link human rights and arms control or not, in addition to by what means North Korea should be contained. This article seeks to explore international responses to the North Korean human rights situation from a normative-descriptive approach. The article will explore the rise of softer security concerns next to traditional ones by tracing the building of human rights momentum within the UN. This will be followed by analysis on the nexus between the issue of arms control or broader security concerns and human rights. The risks and opportunities involved in connecting the two subject matters will thereafter be considered from the prism of human rights, after which strategies for future international responses will be discussed. It will be argued that the human rights momentum built in the aftermath of the 2014 Commission of Inquiry report has laced human rights firmly at the centre of international attention. Moreover, the placing of North Korean human rights on the Security Council agenda was a step with longterm political and legal implications.
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