- 연구원소식 - JPI PeaceTalk
JPI PeaceTalk
Subject How to Hold the DPRK Responsible for Human Rights Violations
Author JPI  (admin)
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2017-11-27 오후 2:12:31





My name is Oh Joon and I am professor at Kyung Hee University in Seoul and I am a former Korean ambassador to the United Nations.


Q1. What led you to convene a North Korea’s human rights session?


The North Korean human rights issues is one of the most serious human rights cases the United Nations is handling right now and 2014 was an important year for the international community in dealing with the North Korean human rights issue, not least because there was a report by the Commission of Inquiry on DPRK human rights. At this session, we have the chairman of that commission, Mr. Michael Kirby, as well as a North Korean defector, Ms. Lee Hyeonseo, and a journalist who has been working on this issue for a very long time, Ms. Anna Fifield, and a civil society representative, Mr. Sokeel Park, as well representing the South Korean government, Mr. Lee Jung-hoon, who is ambassador-at-large on North Korean human rights issues.


Q2. Why do you think it is important to discuss ongoing violations of human rights in North Korea at this Forum?


The Jeju Forum deals with many ongoing international issues. Especially when it comes to the area of promoting human rights, the North Korean human rights issue has to be discussed. This year’s forum provides an excellent venue for such a discussion.


Q3. Could you please briefly explain aspects of the human rights situation in North Korea, especially for the viewers who want to be informed of North Korea's human rights violations?


In the United Nations, in addition to the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council that have been dealing with North Korean human rights for over ten years, the Security Council started to discuss the issue in 2014, which, as I said, was an important year for these efforts. It was the first time for the Security Council to discuss this issue. I was Korean ambassador at that time and I made a statement in December of 2014 on North Korean human rights and I think a lot of people watched my speech on video.


Q4. What efforts have been done to resolve the North Korean human rights issue?


First of all, it is important for the whole world to maintain their attention to this issue. Without proper awareness at the level of the international public, it will be difficult for governments to take action to improve the human rights situation in North Korea. Of course, currently it is very difficult to take any coercive measures in this regard, but international pressure coming from resolutions of the General Assembly, Human Rights Council and the debates in the Security Council, I hope, will make a difference in the near future.


Q5. What is your assessment of the South Korean government's efforts to address human rights abuses in North Korea and bring meaningful change to North Korea?


South Korea is in a unique position in dealing with the North Korean human rights issue, particularly because South Koreans are sisters and brothers to North Koreans. As a fellow nation, I think we should exert more efforts to raise awareness on this critical issue as well as to improve the situation there.


Q6. What are the major issues for the North Korea's human rights session? Can you tell us briefly about what you will discuss at the session?


We have a very good combination of panelists who represent not only the United Nations Commission of Inquiry but also government, civil society, and former North Koreans. I hope we will have a very productive discussion in thinking about what the international community and what South Korea can do at this stage of the issue.


Q7. Could you share your thoughts and ideas on the role that the international community and the South Korean government should play to resolve human rights abuses in North Korea?


The international community needs to continue its efforts to discuss this issue at the international level in every possible forum and also urge North Korea to come out with more transparent policies in dealing with their human rights situation and urge them to cooperate with the international community in our common efforts to promote human rights as a whole.


Q8. What would be the role, if any, of the Jeju Forum in dealing with human rights violations in North Korea?


The Jeju Forum has been known for dealing with all of the important issues of our times. Human rights issues as a whole are critical for humanity in our efforts to promote human dignity all over the world. But the North Korean human rights issue, in particular, is of special significance for Koreans especially, for the region, and the world as well.


Q9. Any last words to our JejuTube viewers?


The Jeju Forum has a longstanding tradition in dealing with many important international issues. By now it is known as a central forum taking place in this beautiful island of Jeju where many leaders and experts from all over the world come together every year to discuss issues and to explore ways for improving our life as humanity. It should be proud of this process and it should cherish this process for the future of the world as well as of Korea.