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Put A Stop To Systemic Violations Of Human Rights In North Korea

Put A Stop To Systemic Violations Of Human Rights In North Korea

Posted April. 07, 2005 23:28,   


It was reported on April 7 that the European Union (EU) and Japan are planning to present an ever-tougher resolution on North Korea`s human rights to the 61st UN Commission on Human Rights currently held in Geneva, Switzerland.

According to “the resolution draft” signed by both the EU and Japan, which the JoongAng Daily acquired that day, it calls for “the North Korean government to immediately stop human rights violations that are systematic, comprehensive and profound.” There was no such radical remark, directly targeting the North Korean regime, in the 2003 EU-led resolution and last year’s resolution on North Korea’s human rights record. This is the first time Japan has played a leading role since the draft resolution was set.

In particular, the draft said North Korea never cooperated with the activities of the UN Special Rapporteur that was newly set up to investigate the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea last year. It noted, “Unless North Korea cooperates with the investigative work of the Special Rapporteur and its human rights record improves, there will be a strong push for the UN General Assembly to address the issue.”

The draft pointed out classic examples of human rights violations in North Korea as follows: torture and inhumane punishment; public execution; illegal imprisonment; the absence of rule of law and legally binding procedures; and prison camps for political prisoners and forced labor.

Moreover, the draft urged, “The North Korean government must guarantee the immediate transfer of foreigners abducted [so far], and immediately resolve all the issues regarding abduction.” This suggests the alleged abduction of Japanese, which triggered a diplomatic conflict between North Korea and Japan, possibly leading to strong resistance from the North.

Reportedly, as soon as the preliminary consultation ends among member nations, the EU and Japan intend to present the resolution today or tomorrow, and push for voting on it around April 14 or 15. One South Korean official said, “The government will make a decision based on a thorough analysis of the draft,” adding, “The draft may be somewhat modified in the preliminary negotiation process.”

Hyong-gwon Pu Dong-Keun Keum bookum90@donga.com gold@donga.com