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(LEAD) Yoon calls for full disclosure of N.K. human rights violations

All News 11:33 March 28, 2023

(ATTN: UPDATES with details)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, March 28 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk Yeol said Tuesday that North Korea's human rights abuses should be fully laid bare around the world, as the government prepares to publish a report on the North's human rights situation for the first time.

"The reality of the appalling human rights violations against the North Korean people must be fully revealed to the international community," Yoon said during a Cabinet meeting.

President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the presidential office in Seoul on March 28, 2023. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the presidential office in Seoul on March 28, 2023. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Under the North Korean Human Rights Act passed in 2016, the unification minister is required to submit an annual report to the National Assembly on North Korea's human rights situation.

The law also calls for the establishment of a North Korean human rights foundation, but its launch has been delayed for years as the main opposition Democratic Party has refused to recommend its share of members for the foundation's board.

"Seven years have passed since the North Korean Human Rights Act was enacted, but the North Korean human rights foundation has still not been launched, and the North Korean human rights report is only now being published," Yoon said. "The North Korean Human Rights Act must be implemented in practice even now."

Yoon said he hopes to see the North's human rights conditions widely publicized during the Summit for Democracy starting Wednesday and during the ongoing regular session of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

He also called on each government ministry, including the unification and education ministries, to use the publication of the North Korean human rights report to inform people at home and abroad of the North's human rights situation.

The Cabinet meeting was held to discuss next year's government budget, among other items.

Yoon said the government will spend boldly to fulfill its job while pursuing strong fiscal reforms to ensure not a single penny of taxpayers' money goes to waste.

He especially called for preventing "leaks" in the form of subsidies for organizations that lack transparency or "populist distributions of cash."

On South Korea's campaign to host the 2030 World Expo in the port city of Busan, Yoon noted that an inspection team of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), an intergovernmental body in charge of overseeing the Expo, is due to visit the country next week, and urged the Cabinet members to do their best to win the bid.

Yoon also recalled his instructions the previous day to strengthen policy coordination between the government and the ruling People Power Party, saying the public's opinion should be reflected in all stages of the policymaking process.


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