Aug. 13 (UPI) -- The United Nations' top official on North Korea human rights said he is considering filing a rights violation notification in connection with a South Korean decision to audit North Korean human rights groups.
U.N. Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana told Radio Free Asia's Korean service the move from the South Korean unification ministry to "inspect" non-governmental organizations raises concerns. The audits could be politicizing the North Korean defector-led groups and infringing on their rights, Quintana said.
Quintana said he is considering making communication with Seoul to remind the government of the importance of freedom of expression. According to local press reports this week, Seoul could be considering placing restrictions on organizations broadcasting into the North.
The U.S. official also said his office is monitoring the South Korean government response and paying close attention to recent lawsuits.
On Wednesday, a South Korean court agreed to temporarily block a government order to revoke the operating license of a defector-led NGO. The order is effective for one month, but South Korea's unification ministry has said it will continue to seek to remove the license of Keunsaem.
"During the main lawsuit, we will offer sufficient explanations as to why the revocation decision is justified," unification ministry spokesman Yoh Sang-key said Wednesday.
Quintana has previously said international investigations into North Korean human rights abuses depend on information from defectors.
South Korea has pursued engagement with the North despite recent events, including Pyongyang's decision to demolish the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong.
Former North Korean diplomat Thae Yong-ho said the North has not responded to offers of $10 million in assistance from South Korean Unification Minister Lee In-young because Kim Jong Un is waiting for new opportunities to emerge after the U.S. presidential election in November, South Korean newspaper Herald Business reported Thursday.
The North Koreans are watching and waiting, Thae said.