North’s abuses detailed in book by rights agencyThe National Human Rights Commission of Korea said yesterday that it will publish a book on North Korea’s human rights abuses for the first time later this month.
The book will include the latest examples of civil rights violations that have been reported by North Korean defectors to the commission, explaining how and why they violate the International Covenants on Human Rights, the International Criminal Court treaty and South Korea’s Constitution.
“We decided to publish this book to prepare grounds even later on to punish those found violating human rights,” said an official from the commission.
The book is some 300 pages long; an English translation will also be released in May. The commission has long been criticized for being weak and passive when it comes to matters of human rights North Korea. As part of efforts to diminish such criticism, in March last year the commission founded a special counseling center focusing on helping defectors that have experienced human rights violations to overcome their past traumas.
It also established a documentation and archive center that records related cases. The soon-to-be-released book is considered the first tangible outcome of the government’s recent efforts.
“The book is intended to silently warn North Korea [of its human rights abuses],” said Kim Tae-hun, the head of the Special Committee on North Korean Human Rights. “By putting together testimonies, the book will play a role similar to how West Germany pressured East Germany by setting up a central archive center.”
West Germany’s Salzgitter Center opened in 1961 to record cases of human rights infringements in East Germany during the cold war. The center put together 41,390 abuse cases and claimed “those in charge of human rights infringement in the East will some day have to take responsibility.”
By Han Yeong-ik [email@example.com]