November 02, 2009 08:56
The South Korean government is co-sponsoring a UN resolution condemning human rights abuses in North Korea for the second year running. The Foreign Ministry on Sunday said the EU and Japan submitted a draft resolution on the North Korean human rights situation to the UN Secretariat last Friday co-sponsored by 49 nations including South Korea and the U.S.
Seoul's co-sponsorship is part of a policy to take a more active position on the North's massive abuses of human rights ranging from concentration camps to torture and summary public executions.
A government official said, "Some people were against provoking the North needlessly at a time when an atmosphere of dialogue is being created, but we decided to co-sponsor the draft resolution on the principle that we should separate human rights as a universal human value from political issues."
Seoul has not been consistent on the UN's North Korea human rights resolution: It abstained on a similar resolution in 2005, voted for the next in 2006 when the North conducted a nuclear test, but abstained again in 2007, when the second inter-Korean summit took place.
This year's draft resolution is similar to last year's, expressing concerns about the human rights situation in the North and urging Pyongyang to stop human rights abuses, cooperate with the special rapporteur for human rights in North Korea and resolve the issue of abducted foreigners.
It also welcomes the resumption of reunions of separated families.
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