December 17, 2019 11:20
Sixty-seven international non-governmental organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, wrote to President Moon Jae-in on Monday raising concerns over the South Korean government's "increasing disengagement with ongoing human rights violations" by North Korea.
The letter was also signed by 10 senior figures including Tomás Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea.
"Pyongyang might get the mistaken impression that the South Korean government is willing to overlook their illicit behavior in exchange for increased willingness to engage in the inter-Korean dialogue," the letter said.
"We note that the improvement in human rights protections cannot take place just with the promotion of dialogue, cultural exchanges or development projects. We are also concerned by an approach that wrongly assumes achieving peace or improving inter-Korean cooperation depends on avoiding all official discussion of North Korean human rights violations. Stepping back from these necessary human rights discussions will only embolden those in North Korea's leadership who are responsible for the worst abuses."
"Integrating fundamental human rights into the current negotiations is crucial for the sustainability of any agreement for denuclearization and peace for the Korean Peninsula and beyond," it added.
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