ASIA/NORTH KOREA - "Stop to crimes against humanity, access to humanitarian agencies": NGOs letter to Kim Jong-il

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - Protesters and civil society activists took to the streets today in Seoul to ask North Korea to "stop the crimes against humanity and violations of human rights" and "to allow access to humanitarian agencies", to help the people who are starving. The initiative, launched by the "International Coalition to stop the crimes against humanity", involved more than 50 among non-governmental Organizations and Federations of associations working at an international level for the protection of human rights, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and several Christian-based NGOs like "Christian Solidarity Worldwide" (CSW) and "Christian Lawyers Association".
The coalition wrote a letter to the President of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, which was delivered today to the headquarters of the North Koreans embassies in various cities in the world like London, Paris, Geneva, New York, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo. The letter, Fides received, contests the regime’s widespread violation concerning human rights: "We call for an end to all executions, to stop deliberate and systematic torture and forced labor, and to close down re-education camps".
NGOs also want UN Special Observer for Human Rights and the International Red Cross to have access in North Korea, especially to inspect the prison camps where there are over 200 thousand people, according to NGOs,. The letter calls on the government in Pyongyang to respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on social and political rights, of which the country is signatory.
Finally, the NGOs launch an urgent appeal to Kim Jong-Il so that he allows access to humanitarian organizations, considered urgent to help people who suffer from hunger and poverty, aggravated by recent floods that hit the country.
The spirit that animates the network of NGOs – explains to Fides a CSW representative - "is a deep concern and participation in the immense suffering of the North Korean people. It is time to put an end to crimes against humanity, to stop impunity and the inhuman system of terror imposed as a yoke on the innocent civilian population". In recent weeks, the NGOs network had made a similar appeal to the United Nations (see Fides 2/10/2011). (PA) (Agenzia Fides 06/10/2011)