June 21, 2013 09:52
A UN Commission of Inquiry tasked with investigating North Korean human rights abuses has now been set up and consists of experts who also probed the human rights situations in Libya and Syria.
The commission recently opened a secretariat consisting of about a dozen mid-level UN staffers, a diplomatic source in Seoul said Thursday.
Back in May, the UN Human Rights Council appointed to head the commission Michael Kirby, a retired Australian High Court judge, Marzuki Darusman, UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, and Sonja Biserko, a human rights activist in Serbia.
The three and their staff will hold their first meeting and decide on their plan in Geneva, where the secretariat is set up. They are expected to visit South Korea and Japan to collect testimony from North Korean defectors and families of victims of abductions by the regime.
They will ask Pyongyang to let them investigate in situ, but that is unlikely to happen.
Yoon Yeo-sang of the North Korean Human Rights Database Center, which has amassed a great store of testimonies from North Korean defectors, said, "We submitted our English-language data in May at the COI's request and are preparing additional information."
The UN commission was launched after lobbying from the activist group International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea.
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