korean human rights
The United Nations will be setting up a new office in South Korea to investigate North Korean human rights violations.

Claiming the South to be an important location for human rights activism, many influential South Korean human rights leaders have voiced their support for the move, including Tae-kyung of the governing Saenuri Party.

Tae-Kyung said the move  is inevitable and voiced the importance of the country’s cooperation with the U.N.

North Korean citizens are facing an oppressive governmental regime under their supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un. While the country’s constitution includes human rights protection, Kim Jong-Un’s regime has continuously banned, among others, political opposition, free media and religious freedom: all pillars of basic human rights. More grievous, the death penalty and prison camps are punishment for basic “crimes against the state” acts.

Many of these offenses are non-violent acts, such as stealing plate glass from a hanging photo of Kim Jong-Un. Once subjected to these camps, the prisoners are provided little to no medical care and face severe food shortages, torture and execution.

Between 80,000 and 120,000 prisoners are being held captive in these camps today.

Michael Kirby, the former Australian high court justice, demanded that North Korean leaders be tried in international court for their wrongdoings.

Kirby claimed that North Korean citizens may be the world’s most victimized population. In response, the U.N. has begun to act in accordance: Kim Jong-Un was sent a copy of his report indicating his severe crimes committed in order to ensure due process.

Jong-Un has yet to respond.

The U.N.’s new South Korean office, which is to be located in Seoul, is hoping to improve the efficacy of its investigations toward North Korean human rights violations. The U.N. believes its proximity may even help to limit the frequency and intensity of the crimes.

An important step toward ending North Korea’s crimes, South Korea’s role in the process to alleviate human rights grievances is a monumental step forward.

– Nick Magnanti

Sources: Business Standard, The Guardian, HRW, The Wall Street Journal
Photo: The Sydney Morning Herald