Rights ex­perts flock to Seoul to dis­cuss regime

JoongAng Daily - - National - BY SARAH KIM sarahkim@joongang.co.kr

Top en­voys on North Korean hu­man rights from Wash­ing­ton and the UN are in Seoul this week to work with of­fi­cials and ac­tivists to co­op­er­ate on the adop­tion of a strongly-worded United Na­tions res­o­lu­tion con­demn­ing Py­ongyang that is ex­pected to pass in the Gen­eral Assem­bly soon.

Robert King, the U.S. spe­cial en­voy for North Korean hu­man rights is­sues, ar­rived in Seoul yes­ter­day for a three­day trip after North Korea on Satur­day re­leased two Amer­i­can de­tainees sentenced to hard la­bor, Ken­neth Bae and Matthew Miller, through a se­cret mis­sion led by James Clap­per, the U.S. di­rec­tor of na­tional in­tel­li­gence.

Another Amer­i­can hostage, Jef­frey Fowle, was re­leased by Py­ongyang on Oct. 21.

King, who is sched­uled to speak with Hwang Joon-kook, spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Korean Penin­sula peace and se­cu­rity af­fairs, is ex­pected to dis­cuss the re­cent re­lease of the U.S. de­tainees by Py­ongyang.

He is also ex­pected to dis­cuss with Seoul of­fi­cials the on­go­ing in­ter­na­tional ef­forts for the adop­tion of a UN res­o­lu­tion which calls for the re­fer­ral of Py­ongyang’s crimes against hu­man­ity to the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court in the Gen­eral Assem­bly and Se­cu­rity Coun­cil.

Marzuki Darus­man, UN spe­cial rap­por­teur on North Korea and a mem­ber of the UN Com­mis­sion of In­quiry into the crimes against hu­man­ity in Py­ongyang, also kicked off a five-day visit to Seoul on Mon­day. Dur­ing his visit, Darus­man will gather in­for­ma­tion needed for a re­port to sub­mit to the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil and the Gen­eral Assem­bly on the North Korean hu­man rights sit­u­a­tion.

Reuters re­ported yes­ter­day that North Korea’s mis­sion to the United Na­tions at the end of last month halted its charm of­fen­sive and sus­pended talks with the Euro­pean Union in hopes of halt­ing the UN res­o­lu­tion, which also en­cour­ages the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to con­sider tar­geted sanc­tions on hu­man rights abusers.

The EU and Ja­pan are the main spon­sors of a UN res­o­lu­tion which is ex­pected to be passed by a com­mit­tee of the Gen­eral Assem­bly this month and by the Gen­eral Assem­bly next month.

But the res­o­lu­tion is likely to be ve­toed by China in the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil.

Darus­man and King will also at­tend a hu­man rights fo­rum hosted by the Korea In­sti­tute for Na­tional Uni­fi­ca­tion in Seoul on Thurs­day.

They will speak as pan­elists along with Lee Jung-hoon, the Korean For­eign Min­istry’s am­bas­sador for hu­man rights, at the 4th Chail­lot Hu­man Rights Fo­rum.

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