(Seoul, February 4, 2013) The international community has been strengthening its call for the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) into North Korean human rights abuses.
For the past year and a half, the International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK) has put great efforts into increasing international support for the establishment of a UN COI into North Korea’s crimes against humanity. Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, severely criticized the “deplorable” human rights situation of North Korea and called for the establishment of a UN COI on January 14th. Marzuki Darusman, the Special Rapporteur on North Korean human rights, urged that North Korean human rights issues be addressed by a UN “mechanism of inquiry,” in his report that was submitted to the UN General Assembly last October. In addition, the British Members of Parliament’s and international human rights organizations’ statements urged for the establishment of a UN COI.
On January 25th, the Japanese government decided to support the establishment of a UN COI for investigating human rights abuses committed by the North Korean authorities. Alongside the EU, Japan has been participating in drafting a resolution on North Korean human rights, which will be addressed at the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council. If a clause about the establishment of a COI is added to a resolution, the likelihood of its establishment will be greatly increased.
Now is the time for the South Korean government to step forward onto the international stage for the establishment of a COI. It is not quite an exaggeration to say that the fate of a COI into North Korean human rights abuses is dependent upon the South Korean government.
The South Korean people and their government, who should be the parties most concerned with North Korean human rights because of historical links, need to accelerate the push for the establishment of a UN COI into North Korea by cooperating with the international community. We should not be indifferent to this strengthening international movement.
A UN COI will investigate the various human rights abuses committed by the North Korean authorities, including torture, arbitrary detention, abductions, public and summary executions, management of political prison camps, forced labor, and other kinds of crimes against humanity. By doing this, we will effectively expose the realities of North Korea and the criminal of its authorities to the rest of the world.
Omar al-Bashir, who is responsible for the genocide in Darfur, was prosecuted for his crimes through a UN COI investigation. Syria’s atrocities have also been judged as war crimes and crimes against humanity. Establishment of COIs has also preceded investigations in Rwanda and Libya. UN mandates on dictatorships from around the world should not bypass the North Korean authorities, which deprive its people of even basic human rights. The cruel violations of human rights committed on a daily basis in North Korean political prison camps are in no way different from those found in the previously mentioned countries.
We, the 110 South Korean intellectuals and human rights activists, are urging the South Korean government and wider international community to adopt a resolution on North Korean human rights for the establishment of a COI at the upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in March.
We call for the South Korean people and its government to be at the forefront of the establishment of a UN COI.
110 South Korean Intellectuals supporting the Establishment of a COI
Ahn, Byoung Jik, Chairman of Zeitgeist Ahn, Chan Il, President of World Defectors Federation Ahn, Kwang Moo, Director of Ahn Kwang Moo Internal Medical Clinic An, Myeong Chul, Secretary General of Free NK Gulag Bae, Sung Kil, Chief Vice-Chairman of Korea Liberty Teachers’ Union Byun, Jong Kook, the First President of University Student’s Forum of Korea Cho, Dong Keun, Professor of Economics at Myongji University Cho, Hee Mun, Professor at Inha University Cho, Hyung Gon, Co-President of 21C Future Education Association Cho, Jeon Hyeok, Professor at Incheon University Cho, Jung Keun, Co-President of Health & Welfare Assembly Cho, Sung Hwan, Professor at Kyonggi University Cho, Young Ki, Professor at Korea University Choi, Chang Gyu, Professor at Myongji University Choi, Gong Jae, Chief Director of Next Generation Culture Solidarity Choi, Seung Noh, Secretary General of CFE Choi, Sung Yong, President of Abductees Family Organization Do, Hee Yoon, President of Citizens' Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees Han, Nam Su, President of Young Defectors’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights Heo, Hyun Joon, Secretary General of Special Commission of Repatriation of Daughter of Tongyoung Hong, Il Sik, former Chancellor of Korea University, (Chairman of Korea Institute for Social Science and Humanity Studies) Hong, Sun Kyung, Chairman of Committee for the Democratization of North Korea Hong, Sung Joo, President of North Korean Human Rights Doctors Organization Hong, Sung Ki, Professor at Ajou University Hong, Sung Pil, Professor at Yonsei University Hyun, Jin Kwon, Director of Center for Social Cohesion at Korea Economic Research Institute Jeon, Woo Hyun, Professor at Hanyang University Joo, Dae Hwan, Co-President of Social Democracy Solidarity Joo, Ik Jong, Researcher at Naksungdae Institute of Economic Research Jung, Peter, Secretary General of Association of North Korean Human Right Organizations Jung, Seung Yoon, Professor at Busan University Kang, Cheol Hwan, President of North Korea Strategy Center Kang, Hoon, Attorney at Law Kang, Keun Hwan, former President of Seoul Theological University Kang, Kyu Hyung, Professor at Myongji Graduate School of Archival Sciences Kim, Byoung Il, Senior Advisor at Kim & Chang Kim, E-Suck, Vice Director of Institute of Market and Economy System Kim, Heung Kwang, President of NK Intellectuals Solidarity Kim, Ho Seop, Professor at Chung Ang University Kim, Hye Joon, Senior Steering Committee of the South and North Youth Action Kim, Ik Hwan, President of Open Radio for North Korea Kim, Jong Seok, Professor at Hongik University Kim, Jung Ho, Professor at Yonsei University Kim, Jung Soo, Co-President of Federation of Pan-Citizens Association Kim, Kil Ja, President of Lover Korea/ Honorary Chancellor of Kyung-In Women’s College Kim, Kwang Dong, President of National Policy Institute Kim, Kwang In, Manager of North Korea Strategy Center, Kim, Sejung, former Professor at Yonsei University Kim, Seung Cheol, President of North Korea Reform Radio Kim, Tae Hoon, Attorney at Law Kim, Yoon Tae, Secretary General of NK Net Kim, Yoong Ki, Manager of Database Center for North Korean Human Rights Kim, Young Hwan, Head Researcher of NK Net Kim, Young Ja, Secretary General of Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights Kim, Young Jik, Professor at Sungshin Women’s University Koo, Bontae, President of Institute for Korean Integration of Society Kwak, Sung Keun, President of KNR Manufac Corp. Kwon, Eun Kyung, ICNK Secretariat Kwon, Hyuk Cheol, Director of Law & Economy Division at Center for Free Enterprise Lee, Ae Ran, President of North Korean Food Center Lee, Byung Sung, President of Kyeong-gi School Parents Organization for Making Good School Lee, Cheol Hoon, Publisher of Bait Lee, Choon Keun, Senior Researcher at Korea Economic Research Institute Lee, Dong Bok, President of North Korea Democracy Forum Lee, Hee Bum, Secretary General of Student First Lee, Heon, Co-President of Lawyers with Citizens Lee, Horim, President of Publisher Biz Vision Lee, Jae Gyo, President of Zeitgeist Lee, Jae Won, Representative Lawyer of Ulchi Law Firm Lee, Jisu, Professor of Politics and Diplomacy at Myongji University Lee, Joo Young, President of Rhee Syngman Forum Lee, Jung Hoon, Professor at Yonsei University Lee, Kwang Baek, President of Radio Free Chosun Lee, Mi Il, President of Korean War Abductee's Family Union Lee, Myung Hee, Professor at Kongju University Lee, Seung Hoon, Emeritus Professor of Seoul National University Lee, Seung Yeol, Researcher of Ehwa Institute of Unification Studies Lee, Sung Goo, Standing Commissioner of Liberalism Forum Lee, Won Woong, Professor at Kwandong University Lee, Yoon Koo, Central Chairman of Korea Liberty Teachers’ Union Lee, Young Hoon, Professor at Seoul National University Lim, Jung Sik, Steering Committee of Liberalism Forum Min, Kyung Kook, Professor at Kangwon University Moon, Dong Hee, President of Students Alliance for North Korean Human Rights Moon, Kook Han, President of North Korean Human Rights’ International Association Moon, Soon Bo, Researcher at Sejong Institute Nam, Dong Hwan, Chairman of Science Korea Nam, Si Wook, Chair-Professor at Sejong University Nam, Sung Il, Professor at Sogang University Namgung, Hosam, Director of Namgung Internal Medical Clinic Noh, Jae Bong, former Prime Minister Noh, Young Rae, Producer and Open Radio for North Korea Oh, Kil Nam, Doctor of Economics Oh, Kyoung Seop, Researcher at Sejong Institute Park, Bum Jin, Chairman of Research Institute for New Korea Park, Jong Woon, former Committee Member of the Hannara Party Park, Sang Jeung, Honorary Chairman of the Beautiful Foundation Park, Young Woo, Special Committee of Education Division at Korean Labor Union Confederation Seo, Jae Pyoung, Secretary General of Committee for the Democratization of North Korea Shim, Yong Sik, Co-President of Institute of Environment Data Evaluation Shin, Bora, President of the Youth Forum Shin, Do Cheol, Professor of Economics at Sookmyung Women’s University Shin, Un Myoung, Director of Korea Freedom Federation Sohn, Kwang Joo, Director of Unified Strategy Institute and Daily NK Song, Ho Yeol, former Chancellor of Seowon University Song, Jong Hwan, Visiting Professor of North Korea Department at Myongji University Song, Keun Jon, Director of Zeitgeist Yang, Dong An, President of Modern Ideology Research Association Yoo, Ho Yeol, Professor of North Korea Department at Korea University Yoo, Sung Sik, Executive Director of Zeitgeist