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North Korean Human Rights a Threat to International Peace

North Korean Human Rights a Threat to International Peace

Posted December. 08, 2005 02:59,   


“The Korean government’s decision to abstain from voting on the UN’s North Korean Human Rights draft resolution was very disappointing. U.S. President George W. Bush and many Congress members were also disappointed.”

On December 6, Thomas O. Melia (photo), the deputy executive director at Freedom House, which is organizing the second North Korean Human Rights International Conference to be held in Seoul from December 8 to 10 said, “Although acknowledging and illuminating views on North Korea’s human rights situation is the easiest method, the Korean government has chosen to abstain.” He expressed his regret, stating, “If the people of North Korea were to become aware (of the abstention), they would have likewise been upset.”

In order to participate in the conference, Melia, busy with preparations for his departure, was at his office in Washington, D.C. Deputy executive director Melia was a Legislative Assistant in foreign and defense policy for Democrat Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and is currently a lecturer on democratic theory at Georgetown University.

“December 10 is World Human Rights Declaration Day. It would be very appropriate to take this opportunity to hold an international conference dealing with the North Korean human rights issue, and evaluate and discuss the North Korean human rights situation. We hope that through this conference, not only Koreans and Asians but also Americans will better understand the North Korean human rights situation, and the international society will start to take more interest as well.”

After he stressed the purpose of the Seoul conference’s meaning again, he raised his voice saying, “The North Korean human rights problem is a threat to international peace.” He stated that not enough people know that North Korea has almost always been classified as the single worst country in regards to government and civil liberties in the annual report on the world’s different countries published by Freedom House for the last 35 years.

Soon-Taek Kwon maypole@donga.com