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North Korea threatens to 'mercilessly punish' those involved in U.N. human rights office

North Korea is protesting South Korea's agreement to open a United Nations human rights field office in Seoul, and has threatened to "mercilessly punish" those involved in the project.

By
JC Finley
Demonstrators participate in a North Korean Freedom and Human Rights rally on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 28, 2009. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg)
Demonstrators participate in a North Korean Freedom and Human Rights rally on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 28, 2009. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg) | License Photo

SEOUL, June 9 (UPI) -- North Korea has threatened to "mercilessly punish" those involved in establishing a United Nations human rights office in South Korea.

The South Korean foreign ministry announced in late May that the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights would open a field office in Seoul, in response to a U.N. Commission of Inquiry report published in March that found North Korea was engaged in "systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights."

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Pyongyang's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea alleged that the U.N. project was part of a joint U.S.-South Korea scheme to open a "den of slander."

"If (anyone) disturbs our dignity or system and gets crazy about the anti-state human rights commotion, (we) will never tolerate them and mercilessly punish them regardless of whether they are the puppet group, its boss or anyone who belongs to whatever international organization... The U.N. office on North Korean human rights to be installed in the South and its staff workers will be not an exception."

The U.N. field office in Seoul is expected to be staffed by five or six officials and financed by the U.N., according to South Korea's foreign ministry.

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