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S. Korea co-sponsors UN resolution of N. Korean human rights

S. Korea co-sponsors UN resolution of N. Korean human rights

Posted March. 24, 2023 08:01,   

Updated March. 24, 2023 08:01


South Korea will come back as a co-sponsor of the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution on North Korea for the first time in five years. For four straight years from 2019 to last year, under the former Moon Jae-in administration, Korea was off the list of co-sponsors, citing the unique nature of inter-Korean relations.

“The UN Human Rights Council will adopt a resolution on North Korea’s human rights on April 3 or 4. The government is returning as a co-sponsor after five years. We also actively participated in the discussions for the resolution text.” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Lim Soo-seok at a regular briefing on Thursday. “The return reflects our stance of focusing on universal values, such as freedom, democracy, and peace, and our goal to become a global pivotal state.”

The resolution also includes the phrase that considers a South Korean fisheries official killed by North Korea’s military in the Yellow Sea and the forced repatriation of North Korean fishermen, which were first stated in the UN General Assembly resolution late last year. In addition to the existing terms on torture, summary executions, arbitrary detention, and abduction of foreign nationals, the resolution also included the phrase, “calls on North Korea to disclose all relevant information, including the lives and whereabouts of (victims) to their families and relevant authorities.” It also states that “North Koreans who are repatriated to North Korea should not be subjected to any human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, arbitrary execution, torture, or ill-treatment.”

The resolution also stipulates new terms that urge North Korea to review its “Anti-Reactionary Thought and Cultural Exclusion Law.” Enacted in 2020 and revised in August of last year, the law strictly prohibits any content produced outside of North Korea, including in South Korea, that is labeled as reactionary.

The Yoon Suk Yeol administration also took part as a co-sponsor in a North Korean Human Rights resolution submitted to the UN General Assembly last year for the first time in four years. The government will continue to join in the efforts of the international community, including the UN, to improve the dire human rights situation in North Korea.

Na-Ri Shin journari@donga.com