North told to improve human rights

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North told to improve human rights

As the popular pro-democracy, pro-human rights uprising in the Middle East is putting a strain on dictatorships in other parts of the world, South Korea called upon North Korea to cooperate with the international community to improve its human rights conditions.

During a speech at a high-level session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, Min Dong-seok, a South Korean second vice foreign minister, said North Korea’s human rights conditions deserve attention, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“The South Korean government also shares the deep concern of the international community over the serious human rights situation in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said Min in the speech after expressing concerns about Libya’s crackdown on protesters.

“We believe that the human rights situation in the DPRK warrants the continued attention of the Human Rights Council, including the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur [U.N. special reporter] on human rights in the DPRK,” he said.

The food shortage in North Korea, stemming partly from ill-managed economic policies and a military-first ideology that places military power ahead of the well-being of the public, has worsened in recent months, according to reports.

Free North Korea Radio, a Seoul-based media, reported yesterday that a rumor is circulating in the North that some North Koreans overcome with hunger are killing and eating people, which also happened in the 1990s.

To help improve food conditions, the North suggested dialogue with the South earlier this year including a proposal for family reunions.

But the inter-Korean relationship was disrupted after the breakdown of the military talks early February.

Min urged the North to cooperate on solving issues of separated families and of South Koreans still being held in the North.

“Given the urgency of these issues, it is the sincere hope of the Republic of Korea that the DPRK will fully cooperate with us to reach solutions as early as possible,” he said.

By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]


Related Korean Article[연합]

제네바 유엔인권이사회 고위급회기 기조연설

민동석 외교통상부 제2차관은 "북한은 이산가족과 납북자 문제의 조속한 해결에 전폭적으로 협력해야 한다"고 밝혔다.

외교통상부에 따르면 민 차관은 28일(현지시간) 제네바에서 열린 제16차 유엔 인권이사회 고위급 회기의 기조연설자로 나서 "북한의 심각한 인권상황에 대한 국제사회의 깊은 우려에 공감한다"며 이같이 말했다.

민 차관은 "북한 인권 특별보고관의 임기 연장을 비롯, 북한 인권 상황에 대한 인권이사회의 지속적인 관심이 필요하다"면서 "북한도 국제사회와의 협조 하에 인권상황 개선을 위해 필요한 조치를 취할 것을 촉구한다"고 덧붙였다.

민 차관은 또 최근 중동 및 북아프리카 지역의 정세와 관련해 "질서있고 평화로운 방식으로 상황이 정상화되기를 희망한다"면서 "이 과정에서 인권과 자유가 존중되고, 진정하고 포용적인 대화가 보장돼야 한다"고 강조했다.

민 차관은 이어 "유엔 안전보장이사회와 인권이사회 특별회기에서 리비아 상황에 대한 결의안이 채택된 것을 환영한다"면서 "한국 정부는 결의 이행에 전적으로 협력할 준비가 되어 있다"고 밝혔다.

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