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Rights commission cites privacy concerns in opposing bill on N.K. defectors

All News 10:14 October 20, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) -- The National Human Rights Commission voiced opposition Sunday to a bill that would allow the government to collect information on households of North Korean defectors as a move to provide them with better social security services, citing concerns of privacy violations.

The proposal to revise the law on social security payments came after a family of North Korean defectors -- a 42-year-old mother and her 6-year-old son -- were found dead in Seoul on July 31 in shocking deaths widely blamed on hunger.

The bill, initiated by Rep. Kim Seung-hee of the main opposition Liberty Korean Party, calls for authorizing the health and welfare ministry to collect information about families of North Korean defectors to better detect vulnerable households in need of state support.

But the rights commission raised concern that it would be too much to allow the government to collect detailed information on all North Korean defectors, even if the bill's purpose of identifying vulnerable households is legitimate.

The commission said it advised the ministry to revise the proposal in a way that ensures a balance between privacy protection and state intervention.

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