Four months after the implementation of the North Korean Human Rights Act, the North Korean Human Rights Advisory Committee has formed to provide policy guidance to improve human rights in North Korea.
“The National Assembly sent a list of 10 members for the North Korean human rights advisory committee (recommended by the National Assembly negotiating organizations) to the Ministry on January 11 (Wednesday), and Unification Minister Hong Yong Pyo has officially appointed them as advisory committee members,” the Ministry of Unification announced on January 24.
The term of office for the members of the new committee, established in accordance with Article 5 of the North Korean Human Rights Act, is two years. The term of the Advisory Committee starts from the first Advisory Council on the Promotion of Human Rights in North Korea to be held at 2pm on January 24, hosted by Minister Hong.
“At the council meeting, a framework for promoting human rights in North Korea will be discussed. The members will hold a meeting to discuss the future management direction of the committee,” a spokesperson from the Ministry of Unification said.
The advisory committee members recommended by the National Assembly include Professor Kim Yeon Chul of the Reunification Studies Department at Inje University, Professor Park Sun Song of the North Korean Studies Department at Dongguk University, Professor Yoon Mi Ryang from the Division of International Affairs at the ROK Air Force Academy, Database Center for North Korean Human Rights Chief Director of North Korean Human Rights Archives Yoon Yeo Sang, and President Han Ki Hong from the Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights, among other experts and activists across a range of disciplines.
The North Korean Human Rights Advisory Committee will provide expert advice to the Ministry of Unification on the establishment of a basic plan to promote human rights in North Korea, as well as the operation of the North Korean Human Rights Foundation and the North Korean Human Rights Documentation Center. Initially, the Committee was scheduled to be launched shortly after the implementation of the North Korean Human Rights Act in September last year, but the launch was postponed due to a delay imposed by the opposition party on its recommendations for committee members.
An official from the Ministry of Unification said, “As the institutional framework for the establishment of the basic plan for promoting human rights in North Korea has been arranged through the launch of the committee, the Ministry plans to proceed with the establishment of basic plans, including policies to substantially improve human rights for the North Korean people.”.
“The launch of the North Korean Human Rights Foundation, which is being delayed due to differing opinions between political parties in the negotiation process, must soon be realized in order to effectively implement North Korean human rights policy,” the official added.
The North Korean Human Rights Foundation, which will take a leading role in research into North Korea’s human rights violations and humanitarian assistance, as well as support for Civil Society Organizations (NGOs) working in the area of human rights, has not yet been launched due to a delaying tactic enforced by South Korea’s Minjoo Party.