March 18, 2015 10:52
North Korea abducted more than 200,000 foreign nationals including children since 1950, according to a UN report quoted by Marzuki Darusman, the UN special rapporteur on North Korean human rights abuses.
Darusman called for a multifaceted strategy to shed new light on the North's bizarre abduction campaign. "Sooner or later, [North Korea] will have to answer for its actions," he added.
Speaking at a UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Darusman said the first step is to find out how many were abducted.
The UN Security Council, General Assembly, and Human Rights Council need to take consistent action, he said, while the countries concerned should involve their civic societies. The 2014 Commission of Inquiry report says the North systematically kidnapped foreign nationals and has never sent them back.
Most of the 200,000 victims were South Koreans kidnapped during the Korean War and Korean Japanese who were repatriated to the North since 1959.
But the North also kidnapped hundreds of people in South Korea and Japan in the 1960s-1980s. And since the 1990s, people from China, Lebanon, Malaysia, Romania, Singapore and Thailand have fallen victim to the campaign. They were kidnapped by North Korean soldiers and intelligence officers with the approval of their supreme leader, the report adds.
Meanwhile, Darusman pledged to begin a survey of some 20,000 North Korean workers working overseas in conditions of near-slavery.
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