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Pyongyang condemns Seoul's North Korea human rights act

The law has taken 11 years to pass in South Korea parliament.

By Elizabeth Shim
A South Korean law that will allow for the establishment of a North Korea human rights archive is to go into effect on Sept. 4. Pyongyang has been condemned for its political prison camps, forced labor and summary executions. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/47b5ca5e34eb0f66df3ef3aec7859ebc/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
A South Korean law that will allow for the establishment of a North Korea human rights archive is to go into effect on Sept. 4. Pyongyang has been condemned for its political prison camps, forced labor and summary executions. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- A North Korea human rights act stalled for more than a decade is to be enforced in South Korea starting Sept. 4.

The law that passed on March 2, however, is not being well received in Pyongyang, which has repeatedly denied engaging in rights abuses.

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For years, some South Korean politicians opposed the passage of the law, because they were concerned the bill would interfere with North-South détente.

But tensions between the two Koreas, including North Korea missile provocations and reports of ongoing rights violations, may have played a role in the passage of the law.

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Seoul's human rights act would allow for the establishment of an archive that document abuses, mostly based on North Korean defector testimonies.

The institution would "promote a more systematic and comprehensive North Korea Human Rights Act," a unification ministry said, according to News 1.

The South Korean government is also looking into the creation of a list of Pyongyang's worst human rights offenders, much like what the U.S. Treasury Department did with a new sanctions list in July that named Kim Jong Un a rights offender.

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North Korea propaganda outlet Maeari recently condemned the South Korean legislation, calling it an "intolerable provocation," News 1 reported.

North Korea said in the statement human rights problems do not exist in the country and that South Korean President Park Geun-hye should instead apologize for the "human rights issues" of South Korea.

The news of alleged executions of North Korean officials, including the ministers of agriculture and education, have further raised concerns regarding Kim Jong Un's authoritarian rule.

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But while purges and executions are affecting some members of the regime, others, including Pyongyang's missile and nuclear scientists, are emerging as a favored class, Radio Free Asia reported.

In the wake of SLBM launches, the scientists of North Korea's second economic commission are being given special treatment, a North Korean defector and former member of Pyongyang's elite said, according to RFA.

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