March 24, 2023 13:01
South Korea is co-sponsoring the UN Human Rights Council's annual resolution on North Korea's human rights violations for the first time in five years.
The previous South Korean government abstained on the resolution since 2019 as part of doomed attempts at rapprochement with the North Korean regime. But the new conservative government has firmly aligned itself with the U.S. on democracy.
"South Korea has returned as a co-sponsor of a UNHRC resolution on North Korean human rights for the first time in five years and actively participated in discussing the draft," Foreign Ministry spokesman Lim Soo-suk told reporters Thursday. "This reflects our emphasis on universal values such as freedom, democracy and peace."
The draft was submitted by Sweden on behalf of the EU on Tuesday. It is expected to be adopted at the next session of the UNHRC in Geneva on April 3 or 4.
Among other things it condemns a 2020 law which makes it punishable by death to bring in or distribute videos originating from the outside world, including South Korea.
The resolution also urges the regime to disclose all information about the whereabouts of foreign victims of torture, summary execution, arbitrary detention or kidnapping to their families and agencies concerned. This includes the fate of two North Korean fishermen who were forcibly sent back by the Moon Jae-in administration in 2019 and the murder at sea of a South Korean fisheries official in 2020, according to the ministry.
The UNHRC adopts a North Korea human rights resolution in the first half of every year and the UN General Assembly a similar resolution in the second half.
At the UNGA session last year, Seoul also co-sponsored the resolution for the first time in four years.
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