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S. Korea launches advisory body on N.K. human rights policy

All Headlines 12:03 January 24, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's unification ministry on Tuesday launched an advisory body to help the government set up its policy on North Korea's human rights in accordance with a law aimed at improving the way Pyongyang treats its people.

The 10-member advisory committee will provide recommendations to the government in carrying out its probe into North Korea's human rights abuses and conducting relevant policies, according to the Ministry of Unification.

The committee members, mainly consisting of professors, will work for a two-year term as the new law on North Korea's human rights went into effect in September last year.

"The creation of the advisory body will set the stage for implementing the government's plan to set up its blueprint to improve Pyongyang's human rights situation," said a ministry official.

On Tuesday, the committee plans to hold its first meeting, to be attended by Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo, it said.

Seoul launched the Center for North Korean Human Rights Records late September to investigate and collect data on Pyongyang's human rights violations.

But the government has yet to launch a foundation to support relevant civic groups' activities that will be aimed at trying to improve the rights of ordinary North Korean citizens.

The formation of board members has yet to be finalized, as the main opposition party has not recommended its candidates to sit on the decision-making body.

North Korea has long been labeled one of the worst human rights violators in the world. Pyongyang has bristled at such criticism, calling it a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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