Civilian Advisory Group to Help Investigation into N. Korea Human Rights Abuses

Civilian Advisory Group to Help Investigation into N. Korea Human Rights Abuses

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to launch a civilian advisory group this week to support the country's official probe into North Korea's human rights abuses, government officials said Tuesday.

   A new government records agency aimed at documenting North Korea's human rights violations plans to hold its first meeting with the advisory group on Wednesday to discuss how to effectively investigate the situation in the North, according to Seoul's unification ministry.

   Seoul launched the Center for North Korean Human Rights Records in late September to investigate and collect data on Pyongyang's human rights violations in accordance with a new law aimed at improving Pyongyang's dismal treatment of its people.

   The civilian advisor group will be made up of experts from five sectors including human rights activists who will help the center better conduct its probe into North Korea's rights abuses.

   The center started a full-fledged investigation into North Korea's human rights abuses on Monday.

   It plans to hold one-on-one interviews with all North Korean defectors who will be assigned to the two resettlement education facilities this month.

   "The results of the probe will be used as basic data in crafting the government's relevant policy and evidence for the future that can be used to hold violators responsible for their crimes," said a government official. "The fact that we will investigate and document human rights violations will be pressure on North Korea."

   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.

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