‘Road map’ planned to protect rights in North

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‘Road map’ planned to protect rights in North

South Korea will create its first “road map” for improving human rights conditions in North Korea this year to approach the issue more systematically, a state human rights body said yesterday.

The National Human Rights Commission said it has recently commissioned a local university to draw up a plan to establish mid- and long-term action plans.

North Korea is notorious for its abusive treatment of its people, but under previous administrations the Human Rights Commission has not addressed the issue. This is the first time Seoul has prepared a policy road map to tackle the issue on a long-term basis and in a systemic way.

The 100 million won ($82,440) project is expected to be completed by mid-November after six months of work by Kyungnam University in Masan, South Gyeongsang, the commission said.

The report will address the human rights of North Korean residents, defectors, families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, South Korean prisoners of war and abducted citizens held in the North against their will, the rights body said.

Research will be done by studying third-party materials and interviewing South Korean and foreign experts on human rights in North Korea as well as on-site surveys of defectors.

Commission officials expect the road map will give direction to the government’s future efforts to improve human rights in the North.

“So far there has been no big-picture approach to the North Korean human rights issue,” said Lee Yong-geun, chief of the North Korea human rights team at the commission. “When the road map is drawn, we’ll be able to suggest policies and actions plans that the government can push for, based on the map.”Yonhap
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