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U.N. launches investigation into death of S. Korean official

U.N. launches investigation into death of S. Korean official

Posted October. 13, 2020 07:45,   

Updated October. 13, 2020 07:45


The United Nations has launched an investigation into the death of a South Korean official who worked for the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

The United Nations Human Rights Office in Seoul said Monday that it had an interview with the bereaved family about the incident after they requested an official investigation by the United Nations last Tuesday. The interview was conducted to gain further knowledge and information about the incident, which will then be analyzed in detail from the perspective of human rights, according to a source from the office. The Seoul office can recommend appropriate measures to the South and North Korean governments after reporting the case to its headquarters.

The interview will be also shared with Tomás Ojea Quintana, United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea, who pointed out that North Korea violated international human rights laws speaking to The Dong-A Ilbo. The U.N. official said he received a letter from the bereaved family and would decide if an investigation is needed, pressuring the South Korean government to provide evidence that shows the official was attempting to defect.

The decision will be made after he reviews the interview on Monday. If he determines an investigation should be launched, he can demand North Korea explain why it killed and burned the official’s body by sending a “letter of charges.” He can also request an on-site investigation in South and North Korea if it is deemed to be a serious violation of human rights, and the results will be submitted to the U.N. National Security Council and General Assembly in the form of a report. U.N. member nations will have access to the report, which will show how cooperative the South and North Korean governments during the investigation.

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com