[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Reprimand is deservedOn the eve of the legislative elections, it is timely indeed, if not confirming, to hear Lee Dong-bok voicing strong comments about basic freedoms and human rights. For decades, North Korea has demanded that others leave it alone, and yet has never seen fit to return the favor. In the words of the writer Philip Gourevitch, “Never has such a small, economically weak state succeeded in making such a big deal of itself for so long.”
One year ago, the UN Commission on Human Rights passed a resolution calling on Pyeongyang to give full access to international checks of reports of systemic abuse in North Korea. South Korea had a seat on the commission. South Korea did not show up.
The international community should do everything it can now to ease the suffering of the North Korean people. Because of the suggestion of a reprimand to a Unification Ministry official who made an offhand remark about Kim Jong-il being “a man born an outcast,” the Korean Peninsula may be at even greater risk of losing its basic freedoms and human rights.
by T.M. Luker