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Justice needed for enforced disappearance, abduction victims in North Korea: UN

Justice is needed for the victims of enforced disappearance and abduction in North Korea, the UN said on Tuesday.

Presenting Tuesday’s report of the UN Human Rights Office which details the ongoing suffering of victims of enforced disappearance and abduction in North Korea, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Marta Hurtado said at a UN bi-weekly press briefing that the report calls for “renewed efforts for truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence.”

“The anguish, sorrow and reprisals that families – across multiple generations – have had to endure are heart-breaking,” Hurtado read UN Human Rights Chief Volker Turk’s remarks shared in a press release. “The testimonies from this report demonstrate that entire generations of families have lived with the grief of not knowing the fate of spouses, parents, children and siblings.”

She noted that the report is based on interviews with 38 male and 42 female victims of abduction and enforced disappearance, including relatives of forcibly disappeared people.

The testimonies expose the “severe and sustained” psychological harm, emotional suffering, and financial effects that these violations have had on their lives, she said.

The report — These wounds do not heal — describes enforced disappearances and abductions that date back to 1950, including arbitrary detentions in North Korea — in some cases following forcible repatriations from neighboring countries — abductions of Republic of Korea citizens during and after the Korean War, the non-repatriation of Korean War prisoners of war, and abductions or forced disappearances of Japanese nationals, according to Hurtado.

“Now is the time for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to move away from isolation and work with the UN to find solutions to human rights issues – including the long-standing issue of enforced disappearance and abduction – and fulfill its obligations under international human rights law,” Turk said in the press release.

“Victims have the right to truth and to justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence. Even in decades-old cases, we should leave no stone unturned in seeking accountability, transparency and redress,” he added.

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