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U.N. Releases North Korean Human Rights Report

Posted October. 05, 2005 07:18,   


The United Nations’ report on North Korean human rights situation, to be discussed in the ongoing U.N. General Assembly 60th Session, has recently been disclosed on the U.N. website.

The 22-page report, written by Vitit Muntarbhorn from Thailand, the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is a revised version of the original document submitted in April to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights that includes details about abduction of Japanese nationals and status of North Korean defectors in Mongolia, among others.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade believes that a stringent resolution on North Korean human rights is likely to be adopted with the release of the report in the current session of the U.N. General Assembly.

Details of the Report-

The report reviewed in the U.N. General Assembly on the 27th last month expressed strong concerns over the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by the North and recommended Pyongyang promptly and efficiently respond to the Japanese government’s demand for the victims’ return.

“Some have been saying that far more than the already known 15 victims were kidnapped by the North. Pyongyang must deal with this issue without leaving any suspicions,” the report noted.

It also mentioned the mismatch of the late abductee Yokoda Megumi’s remains with the examination results and specified, “North Korea must present objective and credible evidence for those who are missing.”

Muntarbhorn, after visiting Mongolia early this year, said that the number of North Korean children and women in their 20s to 30s fleeing their country and crossing the Mongolian border via China is rapidly rising, and expressed appreciation to the Mongolian government for accepting them from a humanitarian perspective.

The report, however, claimed, “The Mongolian authorities are not granting refugee status to the North Korean defectors, although they qualify.”

In response, the document recommended the Mongolian government treat North Korean defectors in the nation according to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (adopted July 1951 in Geneva, Switzerland) and modify its relevant national law.

Possibility of a U.N. Resolution-

The U.N. Human Rights Commission adopted a statement in April that called for readdressing the North Korean human rights issue at the U.N. General Assembly.

“Such a statement is unprecedented, and we cannot exclude the possibility of intensive discussions on North Korean human rights and a North Korean human rights resolution at the U.N. General Assembly,” said a Foreign Ministry official.

Strong resistance from Pyongyang is expected if the general assembly adopts a resolution on North Korean human rights ahead of the fifth round of six-party talks to be held in early November.

The General Assembly`s Third Committee (which deals with social, cultural and humanitarian affairs) that convened on October 3 will determine whether to adopt the resolution after fully discussing the human rights situation in North Korea and the commission’s report starting October 25.

Jung-Ahn Kim credo@donga.com