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UN official in North Korea to talk about rights of disabled

Associated Press logo Associated Press 3/05/2017
FILE - In this May 2, 2017, file photo, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, shakes hands with Kim Mun Chol, left, chairman of the Central Committee of the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled, at Pyongyang's international airport, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Devandas Aguilar is the first U.N. Human Rights Council (OHCHR) official to visit North Korea. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this May 2, 2017, file photo, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, shakes hands with Kim Mun Chol, left, chairman of the Central Committee of the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled, at Pyongyang's international airport, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Devandas Aguilar is the first U.N. Human Rights Council (OHCHR) official to visit North Korea. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin, File)

PYONGYANG, North Korea — An U.N. official advocating for people with disabilities met with a North Korean human rights official Wednesday after becoming the first person designated by the U.N. Human Rights Council to enter the country.

Special Rapporteur Catalina Devandas Aguilar said she intended to collaborate with North Korean officials about protecting the rights of disabled people during her visit.

North Korea has tried to promote its care for people with disabilities in recent years, even as it faces wide criticism for its overall human rights record and the buildup of its nuclear weapons program.

Aguilar met with North Korean Foreign Ministry Ambassador for Human Rights Ri Hung Sik in Pyongyang and is expected later in her stay to talk to officials from the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled and the Health Ministry.

Her job is separate from that of Tomas Ojea Quintana, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea. Neither he nor his predecessors have been able to visit North Korea.

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