Seoul to host U.N. office for N.K. rights

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Apr 29, 2014 - 20:42
  • Updated : Apr 29, 2014 - 20:42
Members of a North Korean defectors’ association release balloons carrying Choco Pies, a popular South Korean confectionery, in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, Tuesday. ( Yonhap)
South Korea is likely to host a field office the United Nations is seeking to open as part of its increasing efforts to bring the North Korean leadership to justice for human rights violations, a government source said Tuesday.

After a year of investigation, the U.N.’s commission of inquiry published a report earlier this year, accusing North Korea of systemic, widespread and gross human rights violations including torture, hunger or imprisonment for political reasons.

In March, the report was submitted to the U.N. council for human rights, which adopted a resolution calling for measures to bring the North Korean leadership to justice.

The U.N. was also urged to open the field office as part of follow-up measures included in the resolution, and South Korea has reportedly been considered as a host country.

The government source said on condition of anonymity that the South Korean government is currently in discussion with the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights over the plan to set up the field-based structure in Seoul.

“The U.N. is seeking to install it in South Korea, and the (discussion) may be concluded soon,” the source said.

According to the resolution, the field office will be put in charge of helping to implement recommendations by the three-member COI, and monitoring and logging North Korea’s human rights conditions mainly through investigations of North Korean defectors.

The office may be staffed with around five field workers when it opens in the second half of this year, the source said. (Yonhap)