UN official calls for more work with disabled in North Korea

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — A United Nations official visiting North Korea called Monday for more attention to disabled people in the socialist state.

The U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of people with disabilities, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, talked to a small group of foreign and North Korean media at a news conference on the last full day of her eight-day trip to Pyongyang.

She urged the U.N. and other international organizations to “make all of their projects inclusive of persons with disabilities and to mainstream disabilities in all of their humanitarian strategies and programs in the country.”

She is the first official designated by the U.N.’s Human Rights Council to be allowed to enter North Korea. The U.N.’s special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea has not visited, nor did any of his predecessors.

In recent years, North Korean authorities have tried to promote work to take care of people with disabilities, as international criticism of human rights in North Korea has grown.