Human Rights Commissioner Apologizes to N.Korean Defectors

      May 12, 2011 12:02

      Hyun Byung-chul

      The head of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, Hyun Byung-chul on Wednesday apologized to North Korean defectors for his agency's failure to address their grievances and record human rights abuses in the North. "I sincerely regret that there was no communication channel for you to voice the pain and injustices you suffered in North Korea," he said in a letter to around 15,000 of the 21,000 North Korean defectors in Korea whose home addresses were available.

      Hyun also pledged to come up with measures to help defectors adjust better to life in the South. The letter was titled "You are the precursors of the future of Korea" to stress that they were the first North Koreans to experience life with South Koreans, which will become a reality following reunification.

      "More than 20,000 North Koreans have settled here after fleeing North Korea," Hyun wrote. "That is a large number considering that this was not the result of war and clear evidence demonstrating the seriousness of human rights abuses under the North Korean regime."

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