In the News – King urges N. Korea to stop punishing repatriated defectors

Aside

In the News – King urges N. Korea to stop punishing repatriated defectors

WASHINGTON, March 13 (Yonhap) — The U.S. special envoy on North Korean human rights issues demanded in this week’s U.N. meeting that Pyongyang stop punishing forcefully repatriated defectors.

Robert King, attending a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday (local time), shared “deep concerns” about the plight of refugees and asylum seekers from the North, according to a transcript of his remarks released by the State Department
“We urge the DPRK to end the punishment and imprisonment of North Koreans who have sought asylum abroad, as well as their family members,” he said. The DPRK stands for the North’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

A growing number of North Koreans cross the border into China, fleeing their authoritarian and perennially hungry homeland. Beijing, a key communist ally of Pyongyang, has a firm policy of sending them back.

King also called for Pyongyang to allow a visit by Marzuki Darusman, the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in North Korea. The secretive nation is accused of oppressing many of its 24 million people.

“We hope the DPRK will work with Mr. Darusman, and recognize the benefits of cooperating with the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and thematic special rapporteurs,” King said. “The DPRK could use this opportunity to obtain valuable assistance from international human rights mechanisms. We urge the DPRK to allow the special rapporteur to visit the country and fulfill his mandate to observe and assess the human rights situation.”

He stressed the importance of resuming inter-Korean dialogue and the reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

“We appreciate the modest progress between DPRK officials and the American Red Cross on family reunions between Korean-Americans and family members in the DPRK, but we seek greater progress in this area,” King said.

Original article can be found here.

In the News – 2 Koreas to Debate N.Korean Defectors at UN

Aside

In the News – 2 Koreas to Debate N.Korean Defectors at UN

The UN special rapporteur on North Korean Human Rights, Marzuki Darusman, will preside over an international debate on North Korean defectors in Geneva on Monday with officials from North and South Korea and China attending. This is the first time the three countries will be discussing the issue at an international forum.

According to a government source, Darusman will report on his investigation of the human rights situation in North Korea at the forum attended by 47 representatives of UN Human Rights Council member nations. The government plans to point out the problems with the forced repatriation of North Korean refugees from China and urge the international community to prevent it.

North Korea and China are expected to press their claim that the defectors are in fact economic migrants who have temporarily crossed the border illegally and are no refugees.

The UNHRC plans to adopt a resolution on human rights in North Korea on April 22 or 23 calling for a halt of torture and other abuses of repatriated defectors.

Original article can be found here.