UN opens hu­man rights of­fice in Seoul to mon­i­tor N. Korea

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

The United Na­tions Tues­day opened a new of­fice in Seoul to mon­i­tor North Korea’s hu­man rights record, af­ter ac­cus­ing the iso­lated regime of abuses “with­out par­al­lel in the con­tem­po­rary world” in a re­port pub­lished last year.

The of­fice was for­mally opened in a cer­e­mony at­tended by U.N. High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hus­sein and South Korean For­eign Min­is­ter Yun Byung-Se, de­spite Py­ongyang re­peat­edly threat­en­ing “mer­ci­less pun­ish­ment” against South Korea if the mis­sion was launched.

South Korea urged the North to stop crit­i­ciz­ing the new U.N. of­fice af­ter it sud­denly an­nounced it would boy­cott next month’s World Univer­sity Games, also known as the Univer­sade, in the south­ern city of Gwangju.

In a mes­sage emailed

to the Gwangju Univer­si­ade or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee last week, a North Korean sports of­fi­cial said the U.N. of­fice in Seoul drove in­terKorean re­la­tions to “the ex­treme sit­u­a­tion” and “cooled down our at­mos­phere to par­tic­i­pate in the games.”

“Less than 50 miles from here lies another world marked by the ut­most de­pri­va­tion,” Hus­sein said in a state­ment to mark the open­ing, ac­cord­ing to Yon­hap news agency.

“Tens of thou­sands of Korean peo­ple have es­caped that re­al­ity and through haz­ardous means reached a new life in (South Korea). But mil­lions re­main trapped in the grip of a to­tal­i­tar­ian sys­tem which not only de­nies their free­dom but in­creas­ingly their ba­sic sur­vival needs,” he added.

The United Na­tions pro­posed open­ing the field of­fice fol­low­ing a sear­ing re­port by a U.N. com- mis­sion pub­lished in 2014 that con­cluded North Korea was com­mit­ting hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions “with­out par­al­lel in the con­tem­po­rary world.”

Based on

the

tes­ti­mony

of hun­dreds of North Korean ex­iles, the com­mis­sion de­tailed a vast net­work of prison camps hold­ing up to 120,000 peo­ple and doc­u­mented cases of tor­ture, sum­mary ex­e­cu­tions and rape.

AP

South Korean po­lice of­fi­cers stand guard by a sign­board of the newly opened of­fice of the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights in Seoul, Tues­day, June 23.

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