North Korean Defectors Worry Nuclear Talk Will Overshadow Human Rights Issues

ICC Note: As the two Koreas are finalizing details for the upcoming nuclear summit, and U.S. – North Korea summit also scheduled to happen, North Korean defectors are concerned that long-standing human rights violations committed by the government will be overlooked.    

03/29/2018 North Korea (Voice of America) – North Korean defectors are voicing concern the repression and long-standing human rights violations allegedly committed by the leadership in Pyongyang will be forgotten during the nuclear summits expected to be held soon.

North and South Korea agreed Thursday to hold the inter-Korean summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27.

The announcement was made during a high-level planning session on the northern side of the border in the Panmunjom truce village, where the armistice to end the Korean War was signed. This will be the third meeting of the leaders from the communist North and the democratic South. The last one was in 2007.

U.S. President Donald Trump also agreed to meet with Kim sometime in May. The meeting would be the first U.S.-North Korea summit.

Ending North Korea’s threatening nuclear and missile programs will a main focus of both summits.

Human rights

Kim this week confirmed his commitment to engage in denuclearization talks during his surprise visit to Beijing, where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. What likely won’t be on the agenda is the widespread repression the authoritarian state tries to keep hidden from the world.

In Seoul, human rights activists recently staged a small demonstration in front of the presidential Blue House to demand the inter-Korean summit in late April also address the atrocities committed by the authoritarian government in Pyongyang.

“The third summit on denuclearization that will decide the destiny of this Korean Peninsula, cannot be done while disregarding the human rights of North Koreans,” said Kim Tae-Hoon with the group Lawyers for Human Rights and Unification of Korea.

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