Advertisement

Canada endorses free speech amid South Korea leaflet ban

Activists in South Korea are banned from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets at the border, but the international community is raising concerns about the new South Korean law. File Photo by Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA
Activists in South Korea are banned from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets at the border, but the international community is raising concerns about the new South Korean law. File Photo by Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA

Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Canada said it supports "freedom of expression" when requested to comment on South Korea's ban on anti-Pyongyang leaflets, as more countries are skeptical about the law that fines and imprisons activists for anti-Pyongyang campaigns at the border.

Christelle Chartrand, a spokeswoman for Canada's department of foreign affairs, told Radio Free Asia freedom of speech must be protected when asked to comment about the new law in South Korea.

Advertisement

"We believe that freedom of opinion and expression remains a cornerstone of prosperous societies and is important for the realization of human rights in society," Chartrand said, according to RFA.

"We support freedom of expression as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."

RELATED U.S. spy plane flies near North Korea ahead of Party Congress

The Canadian diplomat also said Ottawa supports negotiations with Pyongyang, a key strategy of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

"Dialogue and diplomacy represent the only path to security, stability, and economic prosperity for the North Korean people," she said.

Canada's statement comes after Belgium-based Human Rights Without Frontiers said it plans to send a letter to the leadership of the European Union, urging the EU to protest the South Korean government decision, according to Yonhap on Thursday.

RELATED North Korea construction stalled in pandemic year, analysts say

The U.S. State Department told Yonhap earlier this week activists should be allowed to send anti-Kim Jong Un leaflets across the border.

"With regards to [North Korea], we continue to campaign for the free flow of information," a State Department official told the South Korean news agency.

"As a global policy, we advocate for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms."

RELATED Red Cross delivered $700K of COVID-19 aid to North Korea, report says

Seoul has defended the ban. Earlier this week South Korea's foreign ministry said the legislation is "necessary" for resident safety.

Seoul also said it is in communication with the U.S. government, Congress and related civic groups, according to reports.

Latest Headlines