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EU North Korea Rights Hearing Set

Posted February. 21, 2006 02:59,   


The European Parliament (EP) will call in North Korean defectors to testify at a hearing on the human rights situation in North Korea on March 23. The third Freedom House Conference on North Korea Human Rights has been rescheduled to coincide with the hearing.

In April, Vitit Muntarbhorn, the U.N. special rapporteur on the North Korean human rights issue, will present his report on human rights conditions in North Korea to the European Commission of Human Rights.

In the U.S., religious and human rights organizations will commemorate the third North Korea Freedom Week that begins on April 22 by urging North Korea to improve its human rights conditions, and will stage demonstrations, exhibitions, and prayer meetings to express their opposition to China’s forced repatriation of North Korean defectors.

The U.S. State Department, too, is expected to publish a new issue of Human Rights Report in March. Given the international scope of the attention being put on North Korea’s human rights situation, the international community is likely to keep raising its voice against human rights abuses in North Korea.

It is reported that the European Parliament hearing on North Korea human rights was initiated by Human Rights Without Frontiers, Europe-based NGOs, and Istvan Szent Ivanyi, a Hungarian member of the EP.

Freedom House, an organization funded in part by the U.S. under Congress’ North Korean Human Rights Act, will hold the Freedom House Conference on North Korea Human Rights parallel to the EU meeting. Following last year’s conferences in Washington and Seoul, the human rights group has scheduled the third one for March 28 in Europe. But after the EP has announced the timeline for its human rights hearing, Freedom House decided to move up the date for its conference to coincide with the hearing. Freedom House Conference will take place at a hotel near the EP in Brussels between March 22-23.

Jay Lefkowitz, the U.S. special envoy on human rights in North Korea, will attend the conference in Brussels.

Seung-Ryun Kim srkim@donga.com