Human Rights Sold for Political Gain, National Human Rights Commission

[imText1]The National Human Rights Commission officially announced their position on North Korean human rights. The announcement included information on the political direction and principles to approach the issue of human rights in North Korea as well as the role of the human rights commission. The content was so political and deceptive that it was difficult to conclude this information had been collated over a period of one year.

The main point made by the human rights commission was that regions in North Korea that it could not have effective jurisdiction over would not be included as subject of investigation. Basically, it is saying that the people of the Republic of Korea are placing a limit on the amount of persons in hardship, such as army prisoners, abductees and separated families that could directly affect them.

Though the problem of army prisoners, abductees and separated families is closely linked to North Korea human rights issues, essentially it is a human rights issue for the people of South Korea.

If this was a human rights issue to be decided by the people of South Korea, then the establishment of a “North Korea Human Rights Special Commission,” it’s research and discussions throughout the past year has been unnecessary from the beginning. This is because if the improvement of human rights was the responsibility of the nation, then it is the rightly the responsibility of the human rights commission.

For the past year, the issue deliberated by the National Human Rights Commission was whether or not it should interfere on the issue of human rights of North Korean citizens. Using the poor basis that North Korean regions will be excluded as subject from investigation due to the effectiveness of jurisdiction, the human rights commission is professing that it will in actual forfeit the improvement of human rights of North Korean citizens in which it claims is the most important factor of North Korean human rights.

In essence, it is ignoring the North Korean people who are living amidst human rights so desolate it is more painful than death and not accepting the burning desire of the people who hope for positive action in improving human rights in North Korea.

Principles presented, a meaningless shell

Nonetheless, 4 main principles were presented as human rights issues in North Korea: First, to esteem the universality of human rights; second, to improve North Korea human rights through peace; third, aim to improve North Korea’s human rights situation in a realistic approach; fourth, to manage the North Korea human rights issue through reciprocal criticism and negotiation between the government and the community.

Each and every principle is fair and important. However, the moment the human rights commission autonomously forfeited its efforts to improve human rights of the North Korean people, this principle became a meaningless shell with no value.

For what reasons would anyone officially announce that they would give up on the improvement of human rights and yet present an array of useless principles? The human rights commission is trying to conceal anti-human rights. It is being shallow and deceptive.

The human rights commission stressed that it could not intervene on human rights in North Korean regions under the reasoning “The special South-North relationship.” A proposal was even made stating that the government should wisely enlighten the international community that the special South-North relationship should not only be considered negatively on the North Korean human rights issue.

This is not evidence to suggest that the special South-North relationship concludes human rights of North Korean citizens to be forfeited. Rather, it is the opposite.

The special South-North relationship strongly supports that the National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Korea should actively intervene on the issue of human rights in North Korea. The South and North is one country and companions for unification. This is the key factor of the characteristics of the South-North relationship.

Countries without effective jurisdictions and special relationships with the North Korean people may find it burdensome to become involved in the issue of North Korean human rights. However, we cannot ignore the sufferings of the North Korean people just because ineffective jurisdictions. This is because of the special South-North relationship.

Ultimately, it is not too extreme to say that the political shield “special South-North relationship” presented by the human rights commission has been appropriately packaged into a political concept which claims that it cannot place a burden on the government’s North Korea policy.

In the past, it was the human rights commission which grasped the opportunity whenever available to argue that human rights should not be applied to politics. Hence, it is not acceptable that the same human rights commission has now sold “human rights” for “political gains.” We must conduct another investigation on North Korean human rights going back to the basics.

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