“Halt Public Execution in North Korea”, Petition to South Korean National Human Rights Commission

[imText1]For the first time, a petition to halt public executions by the North Korean government was filed at the National Human Rights Commission.

Mr. Son Jong Hoon, brother of Mr. Son Jong Nam (48, from Chongjin, North Hamkyung Province), and a coalition of North Korean human rights organizations filed a petition and publicized a letter asking for the National Human Rights Commission to rescue Mr. Son.

25 North Korean human rights organizations and Mr. Son Jong Hoon held a press conference in front of the National Human Rights Commission before filing the petition. During this time, they criticized the National Human Rights Commission for their passivity on the issue of North Korean human rights, and asked them to be proactive in attempts to rescue Mr. Son.

The letter released stated, “North Koreans, including Mr. Son, who are living on the Korean peninsula with us are South Korean citizens according to the Constitution.” It asked Chairman Cho Young Hwang to lead the rescue of Mr. Son Jong Nam, and called on the National Human Rights Commission to “publicly announce its opinion on North Korean human rights for the sake of human rights, apart from political sensitivities regarding North-South relations.”

Mr. Son Jong Hoon said, ” The South Korean government has been passive about the improvement of North Korean human rights,” and added, “I earnestly request the government to be active on the North Korean human rights issue, including the issue of my brother.” Mr. Son also questioned the commitment of the National Human Rights Commission, stating, “Can the National Human Rights Commission, which does not care about North Korean human rights, talk about human rights properly?” He also asserted that, “Improvement of human rights and democratization needs to come before unification, and the National Human Rights Commission needs to be actively championing the human rights issue, for it is in charge of this improvement.”

Rev. Kim Kyu Ho, the Secretary General of Christian Social Responsibility added, “During the Week of Prayer for North Korea, which will be held by Christian Council of Korea in June, we will be preparing to confirm whether or not Mr. Son is alive; and we will make sure his status is known by the international community so that the issue can be discussed at the UN Commission on Human Rights.”

However, officials at the National Human Rights Commission responded to the petition by stating, “The petition by Mr. Son Jong Hoon will not be reflected in the policies of the National Human Rights Commission, and we cannot conduct an investigation of the North Korean government. Therefore, the petition is without effect.”

It is known that Mr. Son Jong Nam is imprisoned in the basement of the National Security Agency in Pyongyang. Mr. Son met with Mr. Son Jong Hoon who came to South Korea in 2002 via China. Mr. Son was in contact with his brother by phone, and has told him about the reality of North Korea, an act of treason in North Korea of which has resulted in public execution. Also, it is known that his family has been exiled from Pyongyang and is imprisoned in The Completely Controlled Area where the prisoners are imprisoned for life in the political prison camps.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) in the UK will be holding a protest to halt the public execution in front of the North Korean embassy on April 28th at noon, UK time.