SEOUL, July 22 (Yonhap) -- A United Nations special rapporteur on North Korea's human rights situation has requested a meeting with the unification ministry, a ministry official said Wednesday, amid reports the rapporteur is concerned about South Korea's measures to restrict the activities of defector groups.
Tomas Ojea Quintana voiced concerns over the South Korean government's measures against North Korean defector groups and said he would get in touch with Seoul to request information, in an interview with Voice of America and Radio Free Asia on Wednesday (local time).
The United Nations may also "issue a formal communication with the government of South Korea, calling for a balanced management of the regulation and control of civil society organizations," he was quoted as saying.
"They have not told us to submit information but there has been a request for a meeting," Yoh Sang-key, the unification ministry's spokesperson, told reporters during a regular press briefing.
"We will explain the government's stance in the meeting," he added, while declining to comment on how and when the meeting will be held.
Earlier, the unification ministry said it will launch an inspection into government-registered activist groups, starting with 25 entities, including 13 groups run by North Korean defectors. The probe is expected to start later this month.
Last week, the ministry also revoked the operation permits of two North Korean defector groups for sending leaflets to the communist state in defiance of the government's calls to refrain from such activity.
The government has advised the groups against sending leaflets, saying the launches violate an inter-Korean exchange and cooperation act and could jeopardize the safety of residents in border areas.
But the groups have ignored the appeal, citing their right to freedom of expression and emphasizing that their leafleting is aimed at providing information to people in the oppressive North Korean state.
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