North Korea has, for the first time, agreed to host an independent expert designated by the United Nations Human Rights Council. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, will visit the country, officially called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, from May 3 to 8 to learn about the condition of people with disabilities there.

“My upcoming visit to North Korea represents a key opportunity to learn firsthand about national realities, laws, policies and programmes concerning people with disabilities, as well as the challenges and opportunities the government faces in implementing the Convention,” the human rights expert said in a statement.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has accused North Korea of committing crimes against humanity and detaining up to 1,20,000 people in brutal prison camps, AFP reported on Thursday. The Kim Jong-un regime had last month boycotted a rights council session held to scrutinise its record, branding the body’s work a “mere political attack”.

Devandas-Aguilar will meet government representatives, United Nations officials, international humanitarian organisations, the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled and other affiliated organisations, and people with disabilities themselves. During her six-day mission, she will visit Pyongyang and the South Hwanghae Province.

“I look forward to engaging with the government, humanitarian actors and people with disabilities to identify needs and practical approaches in order to formulate constructive recommendations that can contribute to enhance protection for people with disabilities and compliance with the Convention,” she said.