March 29, 2023 12:38
The government will for the first time make its report on North Korea's human rights abuses public on Friday.
President Yoon Suk-yeol said in a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, "The reality of the appalling violations of the North Korean people's human rights must be fully revealed to the international community."
Similar reports had been compiled annually since a law on North Korean human rights was enacted in 2016 but, in a bizarre compromise aimed at softening up the regime, never made public. But now the Yoon administration decided it needs to be widely read.
"The whole point of the roadmap for national security and reunification is to find out the situation on human rights, politics, economy and society in the North through various routes and let it be known at home and abroad," Yoon said.
"With the publication of the report, the Education Ministry and other government agencies… should teach students about the human rights situation in the North and let it be known far and wide."
He also instructed the Unification Ministry to make sure that Seoul no longer spends "even a penny" on the North until it stops developing nuclear weapons.
Asked if that also means humanitarian assistance, a presidential official told reporters, "The ministry has repeatedly made its principles on humanitarian assistance clear. There's been no change in those principles."
Also on Tuesday, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Seoul released its own report on forced disappearances and abductions in the North for 2016-2022.
It covers people who were detained in political prison camps, faced unfair trials, and were tortured or summarily executed, and South Korean prisoners of war who were forced to labor in coal mines in northern North Korea.
Last January, the OHCHR delivered the report to the North Korean permanent mission to the UN in Geneva for verification. But Pyongyang said in reply on March 6 that it does not recognize the authority of the OHCHR in Seoul.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com