UN panel wraps up N. Korea human rights probe in Seoul
The chief commissioner to the United Nations' Commission of Inquiry Michael Kirby on Tuesday urged North Korea to participate in the ongoing investigation into alleged human rights violations.
Through five rounds of public hearings in Seoul, the three-member UN panel has been collecting testimony about the North's crimes against humanity from those who experienced it first hand.
North Korea has denied the allegations.
"The best way for North Korea to respond to the type of evidence, which if left unanswered is believable, even in some matters compelling, is for it to open its doors, give access."
The commission said that through the testimonies given by some 50 North Korean defectors, they were able to gather stronger evidence of existing allegations, like the existence of prison camps, where prisoners are malnourished or even worked to death.
They also got insights into some new matters, such as trafficking, forced abortions and other indignities against women.
However, the UN panel said that no final conclusion can be drawn up yet as their investigation is not complete.
The panel will begin another round of investigation in Japan, mostly collecting accounts on Japanese abductees to North Korea.
Once they wrap things up, the commission will release a final report to submit to the United Nations.
They hinted that the report may be circulated in digital, electronic and visual form, with vivid and succinct testimonies.
The commissioners said that they are the eyes and ears of the international community, and said they are obligated to try to get the international community to understand the enormity of the issue.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.
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