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Gov`t Panel Rejects 3 Requests on NK Human Rights

Posted January. 21, 2010 07:54,   


A South Korean human rights watchdog has turned down three appeals to improve North Korean human rights for the first time since the appointment of the body’s chairman, Hyun Byung-chul.

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea yesterday announced the results of its study on political prisoners in the North for the first time as a government agency. It was confirmed, however, to have ignored investigation requests for and recommendations on human rights in the communist country.

Choi Seong-yong, the head of an association of South Korean families with relatives who were abducted by the North, said yesterday, “We were informed by the commission that it rejected all three appeals on North Korean human rights, including requests for investigation into the ‘shooting death of a South Korean tourist at Mount Kumgang’ and ‘joint investigation into South Korean POWs’ in North Korea.”

In August last year, South Korean groups representing families whose relatives were kidnapped by the North submitted appeals for human rights in North Korea to the commission. They demanded an apology from Pyongyang for the tourist killing and the detention of Hyundai Group technician Yoo Seong-jin.

They also submitted an appeal requesting both Koreas to jointly investigate the fates of South Korean POWs being in the North.

In response, the commission said, “We rejected the cases in consideration of legal and actual limitations, including (an impossible) probe of the North Korean government,” adding, “We will, however, positively consider in the future requests for the commission to actively express its opinion about human rights issues in North Korea.”

Choi said, “We made the appeal under the judgment that the public’s human rights were not properly protected when it came to North Korean issues,” adding, “We will resubmit the appeals that were rejected this time.”