UN Official Urges Seoul to Listen to Defector Groups

  • By Kim Myong-song

    July 31, 2020 11:09

    A UN human rights official on Thursday urged the Unification Ministry not to discourage the activities of North Korean defector activists.

    Tomás Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, expressed concern over the ministry's recent decision to revoke the charitable status of defector groups for sending propaganda flyers across the border and audit them and other rights groups.

    Tomás Ojea Quintana

    According to the ministry, Quintana made the remarks in a virtual meeting with Lee Jong-joo, the director of humanitarian cooperation at the ministry.

    Quintana said Seoul needs to listen to the voices of defector and rights groups and cooperate with them.

    Lee claimed the groups were not targeted for audits just because they sent propaganda flyers into North Korea, and added, "Revoking their charitable status isn't the purpose of inspection."

    The virtual meeting held at Quintana's request lasted about two hours.

    Quintana last week said, "We will request more detailed information and then we have the possibility to issue a formal communication with the government of South Korea, calling for a balanced management of the regulation and control of civil society organizations."

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