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New Roadmap to Improve Human Rights in NK

Posted June. 01, 2010 12:23,   


The National Human Rights Commission of Korea will devise a roadmap to improve human rights in North Korea by targeting specific areas, including the North Korean people, separated families, South Korean abductees and POWs.

“We have commissioned a special service project for this year aimed at establishing an institutional basis for human rights and setting a mid- to long-term plan to realize them in the broader context of policy efforts to help improve human rights in the North,” the commission said.

The panel has repeatedly expressed its commitment to proactively handling human rights in the North since April 25, when it established a North Korean human rights team.

One hundred million won (85,000 U.S. dollars) will go into setting up a mid- to long-term roadmap to improving human rights in the North. A cooperative body under Kyungnam University in South Gyeongsang Province will carry out the project.

To be the first of its kind, the roadmap will likely be finalized around mid-November after a six-month study.

The survey on North Korean human rights to draw up the roadmap will entail documentary research, interviews with experts on policy toward North Korea and human rights, and interviews with overseas specialists on the North, including those in the U.S. and Japan.

The roadmap will include plans to develop policy and institutions for improving human rights in the North in South Korea and other countries. To this end, critical reviews will be conducted on North Korea human rights bills under discussion, existing laws and ordinances on inter-Korean relations, international human rights regulations on North Korean human rights issues centered on the United Nations, and laws, institutions and policies in the U.S., Japan and the European Union.

Institutional measures will also be devised to help form public opinions on human rights in the North through social, media, educational and civic activities in South Korea. The scope of North Korea’s human rights will be defined to include the communist country’s people, defectors abroad, separated families, South Korean abductees, and POWs.

The roadmap will also seek the formation of a multilateral human rights consultative body, including the U.S. and China, to come up with a fundamental measure to resolve the problems of North Korean defectors. It will also likely analyze institutions of the International Criminal Court and the human rights systems of the U.N. and Europe to present effective cooperative measures.

Lee Yong-geun, head of the North Korea human rights team at the commission, said, “We will seek to create a clearly distinguished mid- to long-term roadmap by comprehensively reviewing and assessing existing studies.”

“This project is expected to give us the opportunity to develop a productive policy, while overcoming unproductive debate about North Korean human rights policies in South Korean society.”

The commission said the new roadmap will supplement institutional loopholes in the South Korean government to improve human rights in the North and help Seoul set its policy direction.