UN rights team to visit Asia over N Korea inquiry
United Nations human rights investigators will go to South Korea and Japan next month to interview North Korean exiles about alleged crimes against humanity in the secretive state.
Michael Kirby, a former judge of Australia’s top court and chairman of the panel, said the team would hold public hearings and interview witnesses on alleged rights violations, including kidnappings of foreign nationals, torture and a gulag system.
Pyongyang, which denies the charges and the existence of labour camps alleged to hold at least 200,000 people, has said it will not cooperate with the commission of inquiry, set up by the UN Human Rights Council in March.
But Kirby said he hoped for an opening to ‘hear their point of view’.
‘That ought to be our first port of call. That would have top priority, so we would be suggesting that sometime in the middle of August. Then we would suggest going to South Korea immediately following that, in mid-to late-August, and to Japan after that,’ Kirby said in an interview. A written reply received from North Korea’s diplomatic mission in Geneva was not encouraging, he said.