UN panel presses N. Korea to discuss human rights

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UN panel presses N. Korea to discuss human rights

by AFP Videos 1:12 mins

UN panel presses N. Korea to discuss human rights

by AFP Videos 1:12 mins

SHOTLIST: TOKYO, AUGUST 30, 2013, SOURCE: AFPTV - Var of press conference for the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human rights in North Korean, at the Japan National Press Centre SOUNDBITE 1 Michael Kirby (man) Head of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human rights in North Korea (English, 12 sec) "Those who left Japan in the early 1960s destined for a paradise on earth but discovering at the end of their journey another place." SOUNDBITE 2 Michael Kirby (man) Head of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human rights in North Korea (English, 17 sec) "Their plight has not engaged the same level of interest, sympathy and humanity of the Japanese people and their leaders as has been the case with the smaller number of abductees." SOUNDBITE 3 -Michael Kirby (man) Head of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human rights in North Korea (English, 18 sec) "There were not more than 95,000 such people, all of them either nationals of Japan or Koreans who had long term residence in Japan who set out for North Korea and overwhelmingly they have not returned." /// _________________________________ AFP TEXT STORY: Japan-UN-NKorea-rights-diplomacy-kidnap UN panel presses N. Korea to discuss human rights =(PICTURE)= TOKYO, Aug 30, 2013 (AFP) - The head of a UN probe Friday urged North Korea to respond to horrific testimony of human rights abuses heard in Seoul and Tokyo. Retired Australian judge Michael Kirby, who led the three-member Commission of Inquiry, also called for increased awareness about the plight of some 95,000 formerly Japan-based ethnic Koreans who migrated to North Korea decades ago. Since the late 1950s, the ethnic Koreans went to the North believing they would find a "Paradise on Earth", only to find poverty and discrimination. Some of them managed to return to Japan, but most of them have remained there. "Evidence we have received has indicated that, from the minute of their arrival, most of them were shocked and suffered deprivations of their fundamental human rights," Kirby said. The Japanese public has given significant support for the issue of its nationals kidnapped by North Korean agents during the Cold War era to train spies in Japanese language and customs. An improved level of "understanding" should also be shown for the plight of the ethnic Koreans, Kirby said. The commission spent Thursday and Friday in Tokyo collecting testimonies of human rights violations in North Korea. The Commission of Inquiry also plans to hear evidence in Thailand, Britain and the United States. The team will investigate a wide range of human rights concerns including starvation and treatment of political prisoners. The commission -- the first UN expert panel to officially examine North Korea's rights record -- spent five days in Seoul collecting harrowing testimony of rights abuses in the isolated state. The final report is due to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in March next year, and Kirby said he expected the UN to act on any recommendations it might make. Kirby has repeatedly appealed to North Korea to grant his team access. He said it was in Pyongyang's interest to respond if the report was to fully reflect their views. "We will continue to reach out to North Korea and give them that opportunity and we hope they will accept it before too long," he said. hih/hg/mtp

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