North Korean defectors have filed a petition in a South Korean court, requesting protection for imprisoned families in the North. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
SEOUL, July 18 (UPI) -- Defectors are requesting the protection of imprisoned families in North Korea under South Korean law.
Lawyers for a Democratic Society, a progressive South Korean legal organization, said Monday the probability that the current South Korean law system would accept the petition for habeas corpus is low, News 1 reported.
But given increased South Korean public interest in the human rights of North Koreans and government initiatives to take an active approach to North Korea human rights abuses, the case is being undertaken by a member of the legal NGO.
Habeas corpus is a legal action by means of which people can seek relief from imprisonment.
A LDS spokesman said the group has met twice with the defectors and conducted an "objective review of the legal situation."
Ahead of the meeting, Choi Hyun-joon, a defector and founder of Unification Future Solidarity, the activist group, submitted the petition to Seoul's Central District Court on July 1.
The petition was filed on behalf of six defectors in the South who have 20 family members in North Korean prison camps.
According to the defectors, the South Korean constitution recognizes North Korea as part of South Korean territory, and North Koreans are recognized as South Korean citizens.
Their human rights need to be protected, the activists say.
Past U.N. investigations show violations have taken place across various categories in North Korea, including access to food and freedom of expression and movement.
North Korea is sensitive to international criticism of its human rights record and has called statements on the country's political prison camps, forced labor and summary executions "outright lies."