Human Rights Body Raps Blocking of Leaflet Campaign

      February 10, 2015 11:10

      The National Human Rights Commission on Monday said banning the privately organized floating of propaganda leaflets into North Korea violates freedom of expression and advised the government to relent.

      Eight out of 11 review panel members sided with activist groups at a meeting on Jan. 26, and one abstained.

      "The privately organized spread of propaganda leaflets is a form of free speech protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," the NHRC said.

      "Restricting their dissemination is tantamount to obeying the North's demands at the expense of South Koreans' human rights."

      The NHRC said measures that block freedom of speech must have a clear reason, and North Korean threats do not constitute such a reason.

      The panel members who supported the government's ban said the lives and safety of residents near the border outweigh the public's right to freedom of speech.

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