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South Korea activist to press North Korea on abductions

Choi Sung-ryong has submitted a list of surviving abductees to the U.N. rights office in Seoul.

By Elizabeth Shim
A North Korean hostess watches Chinese shoppers look for North Korean snacks at a North Korean restaurant in downtown Beijing. Pyongyang is expected to send envoys to Geneva in March to request interviews with North Korean waitresses who defected to the South last April, according to the South Korean activist who is seeking the return of abductees. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/758286dcd6fa28fbf5f7af1db92d0101/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
A North Korean hostess watches Chinese shoppers look for North Korean snacks at a North Korean restaurant in downtown Beijing. Pyongyang is expected to send envoys to Geneva in March to request interviews with North Korean waitresses who defected to the South last April, according to the South Korean activist who is seeking the return of abductees. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

A South Korea activist representing the families of people abducted to North Korea is requesting a meeting with the representative of the United Nations' human rights office in Seoul.

Choi Sung-ryong, the representative of the group Family Assembly of those Abducted to North Korea, submitted a letter to the U.N. office on Tuesday, Yonhap news agency reported.

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Choi said he delivered to Signe Poulsen, the Seoul office representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, a letter explaining the situation facing South Korean abductees.

According to Choi, there are "21 South Korean nationals living in Pyongyang" after they were kidnapped.

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The activist included a list of their names to Poulsen, the report stated.

Their identities were determined using personal details released by North Korean authorities in 2011, Choi said.

A total of 516 South Korean nationals have been kidnapped to the North, according to the activist group.

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Choi also said a source in North Korea informed him Pyongyang plans to send envoys to the annual meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

North Korea is expected to ask for interviews with the group of North Korean waitresses who defected to the South last April.

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North Korea claims the women and their manager were kidnapped from their location in China.

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Choi said his group is planning to pressure North Korea to allow abductees living in Pyongyang to meet with their families in the South.

"We will send families of abductees [to Geneva] to inform the international community of the kidnappings," Choi said.

North Korea has been frequently condemned for a wide range of human rights abuses, and defectors have said they witnessed summary execution, rape, torture and forced labor under the regime.

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