Posted July. 09, 2005 03:06,
It was confirmed on July 8 that Cheong Wa Dae formed a special task force team under the Presidential secretarial office for civic and social agendas to precisely grasp the human rights situation in North Korea.
Last year the National Human Rights Commission formed a North Korea human rights situation investigation team to understand the status of North Korean defectors. But this is the first attempt at the government level to get a good grasp of the North Korean human rights situation.
Many are watching with keen interest if this new move causes any changes in the governments attitude toward the North Korean human rights issue.
One government official said, As the North Korea human rights issue has emerged as one of top agendas in the international community, an increasing number of scholars and civic right activists are voicing their views that the government can no longer turn a blind eye to the issue, adding, So the government created a task force team based on the recognition that the government can no longer take a passive stance on the North Korea human rights issue.
The task force team consists of Seo Ju-seok, chief of the strategic planning team of the National Security Council, and Kim Taek-su, administrator of the secretarial office for civic and social agendas (lawyer) and others. The team is led by Hwang In-seong, the secretary for civic and social agendas.
The team has been discussing the human rights situation in North Korea at weekly meetings, held since the beginning of last month, based on data collected from the National Intelligence Service and independent specialized institutes. It also makes sure to reflect opinions of experts on North Korea and civic groups who have enthusiastically raised the issue. The team will reportedly use this extensive information to put together a report on the North Korea human rights record sooner or later. The report will be reviewed at secretaries and aides meetings before it is officially reported to President Roh.
The government had been avoiding taking active measures on the North Korea human rights issue under the principle of promoting a gradual and substantial improvement in the North Korean human rights record through defusing inter-Korean tensions and engaging in reconciliatory cooperation. In line with its policy, it abstained and didnt attend the meeting when the UN Human Rights Commission adopted a resolution on the North Korean human rights issue.
Cheong Wa Dae reportedly formed the team under the Presidential secretarial office for civic and social agendas rather than under the Ministry of Unification or NSC in accordance with its policy to keep North Korean policy coordination and its study on the North Korea human rights issue separate.