August 31, 2023 13:39
South Korea has been slow to enshrine the UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance into law although it ratified it in February.
Enforced disappearance is "the secret abduction or imprisonment of a person by a state or political organization."
A prominent example here is the problem of Korean War prisoners and abductees, whom North Korea refuses to repatriate. The convention aims to prevent and punish such crimes and ensure the rights of victims.
The convention is one of the nine core human rights treaties of the UN and currently has 72 signatories. South Korea completed the membership process in January after approval from the National Assembly in December 2022.
But bills to implement the convention have been pending in the National Assembly since as far back as 2021.
Shin Hee-seok at the Transitional Justice Working Group said, "Without domestic laws, it is practically impossible to implement the provisions of the convention, including punishing perpetrators. Prompt legislation should be enacted for the sake of finding out what happened to Korean War prisoners and abductees."
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