North Korea has executed four of 44 defectors who were recently repatriated to their home country from China, a civic activist said Monday.
Citing informed sources, Kim Heung-kwang, chief of North Korean Intellectual Solidarity, said the rest have been sent to political prisons.
He was speaking at a seminar hosted by the online publication The Interview for discussing steps needed for the legislation of the North Korean human rights law.
“According to information from North Korea, four of the 44 defectors recently taken back to North Korea were executed, and the remainder was sent to political prisons,” said Kim, a North Korean defector who escaped from the country in 2003.
He added that the North Korean human rights issue can’t be addressed without the North Korean authorities changing. He also said that North Korea is the only country in the world where public executions and political prisons are used to suppress the public, and where three generations of dissidents’ families are executed.
“The reason the North Korean authorities refuse (to protect) the citizens’ human rights is that this is an essential prerequisite for the regime’s existence.”
Other participants of the seminar also spoke out against the North Korean regime, and for the need for the legislation of a North Korean human rights act in South Korea.
“Remaining silent on the poor human rights conditions of North Korea and opposing the legislation of the North Korean human rights act are not only anti-human rights and anti-ethnic acts, but contradictory for those who claim to be progressive,” professor Jhe Seong-ho of Chung-Ang University said.
The North Korean human rights act includes measures for improving human rights in North Korea including measures for protecting North Korean defectors and providing humanitarian aid. Although Japan and the U.S. have adopted such acts, the legislation of a similar act in South Korea has so far been delayed.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org