Advertisement

South Korea to build database of North Korea rights violators

The information would include facial composite sketches of rights abusers.

By
Elizabeth Shim
A North Korean solider patrols the border near the North Korean city Sinuiju, across the Yalu River from Dandong, China's largest border city with North Korea. South Korea has conducted an initial inquiry into North Korea rights abuses in compliance with a new law that passed n 2016. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
A North Korean solider patrols the border near the North Korean city Sinuiju, across the Yalu River from Dandong, China's largest border city with North Korea. South Korea has conducted an initial inquiry into North Korea rights abuses in compliance with a new law that passed n 2016. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- South Korea has begun conducting investigations of North Korea human rights violations in compliance with a new law.

The inquiry into Pyongyang's rights abuses has included initial interviews with more than 100 North Korean defectors in South Korea, local newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported Thursday.

Advertisement

The information would go toward forming an archive that documents state-sanctioned abuses that would "promote a more systematic and comprehensive North Korea Human Rights Act," Seoul has said.

Of the 116 defectors who were interviewed, 67 reported 130 cases of rights violations, including assault after forced repatriation, sexual assault during detention and witness to public executions.

RELATED China 'tacitly' admitted to retaliatory response to THAAD, lawmaker says

Defectors also said they have seen North Koreans die of starvation, according to the JoongAng.

A more full-scale investigation is scheduled to begin Monday, when participants will be required to answer more than 140 questions in a survey created by Hanawon, the resettlement assistance center that operates under Seoul's unification ministry.

North Korean perpetrators of human rights violations identified during interviews would be added to the database. The project would include facial composite sketches of alleged rights abusers.

RELATED Chinese state media on Trump's Twitter use: 'Diplomacy not a child's game'

Images would be based on eyewitness' memory, according to local news service Newsis.

Advertisement

The perpetrators would be placed on a South Korean list of human rights infringers identified by name or by their official position.

Seoul said the purpose of the investigations is to "create a foundation for improving the human rights situation in North Korea through a systematic investigation at the government level."

RELATED U.N. committee website to monitor North Korea coal exports

For a decade, some South Korean politicians opposed the passage of the law, because they were concerned the bill would interfere with North-South d├ętente.

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 bill last March and its enforcement in September.

Latest Headlines