ASIA/NORTH KOREA - UN Human Rights Commission institutes role of Special Observer for North Korea

Friday, 16 April 2004

Geneva (Fides Service) - The figure of a Special Observer for North Korea to monitor the situation of human rights in that Asian country was instituted on 15 April by the United Nations Commission for Human Rights during its 60th general assembly taking place in Geneva, Switzerland. The motion, approved by 29 of the 53 members of the Commission including many EU countries and the United States, denounced serious violation human rights north of the 38th parallel. The motion condemned “torture, public executions, widespread employment of minor labour, infanticide in prisons and labour camps", described by Pyongyang as "lies and falsehood". The Commission proved its accusations with the help of a BBC documentary titled "Access to Hell".

While the first Special Observer for North Korea has still to be appointed, Pyongyang has already said it will not allow the official into the country on the principle of non interference in domestic affairs of a country, accusing the signee countries of wanting to use human rights to strike North Korea politically.

The institution of the Special Observer figure was welcomed unanimously all over the world by human rights organisations working to promote respect for rights in Korea, including religious freedom. London based Christian Solidarity Worldwide CSW said the institution of the Observer was a step forward to pressure the Korean government to have more respect for human rights : "North Koreans - said CSW - know nothing about human rights. We are very happy for this important development. The people of North Korea suffer under a brutal and oppressive regime. Let’s hope that this step taken by the international community will encourage North Korea to respect the inalienable rights of every human person".
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 16/4/2004 lines 32 words 342)