The Korea Herald


Pyongyang bristles at opening of U.N. rights office in S. Korea

By Korea Herald

Published : June 4, 2014 - 20:58

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North Korea lashed out at South Korea on Wednesday for its acceptance of the United Nations’ request to open a field office on its soil to monitor human rights violations in the communist country.

Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said last week that it has accepted the request by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to set up the office in South Korea in order to join the international body‘s efforts to shed light on the North’s appalling track record on the issue.

The U.N. selected South Korea as the most suitable place for the office, given its geographical closeness, language and accessibility to victims of human rights abuses after seeking consent from other member countries, according to a ministry official.

Calling the move “an intolerable political provocation,” the North claimed that the South aims “to worsen confrontation between the brother countries and to achieve its ambition of the forcible reunification,” said the Rodong Sinmun, the North’s main newspaper.

“(The move) will further bring the inter-Korean relations to catastrophe and cast a dark shadow of danger of the outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula.”

The decision to open the office came on the heels of a report by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry published in March, accusing North Korea of “systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights,” while also adding that its leaders’ crimes against humanity should be dealt with by the International Criminal Court.

The COI also suggested that the U.N. should set up an office to monitor human rights violations in North Korea and raise public awareness of the issue.

The envisioned office in South Korea will have a staff of five or six officials and operate fully with a budget set by the U.N., with the Seoul ministry official noting that China and Russia are seen as not being opposed to the U.N.’s plan. (Yonhap)