Families’ misery highlighted over DPRK abductions

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Human rights investigator Michael Kirby described the suffering of families who had no news of relatives that had disappeared. Photo: UN/Jean-Marc Ferré

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) continues to be responsible for terrible abuses including murder, enslavement, forced abortion and enforced disappearances, the Human Rights Council heard.

A special panel of experts set up by the Geneva-based assembly gave detailed descriptions of the pain experienced by tens of thousands of relatives, some of whom had gone years with no news of their family members.

The development comes a year after a UN Commission of Inquiry report that accused DPRK of crimes against humanity.

Daniel Johnson has more.

In a special panel discussion on abductions, disappearances and detentions in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the UN Human Rights Council heard about the misery of tens of thousands of families whose relatives had simply disappeared.

Michael Kirby is the chairman of a damning UN Commission of Inquiry probe concluding that DPRK authorities were responsible for crimes against humanity:

"Amongst the most powerful human stories that were received by the Commission of Inquiry, were the human stories of witnesses who came to tell us of their suffering, of their inability to know even whether their loved ones had survived, whether they were still living, where they were, and how they were."

Human rights investigator Marzuki Darusman highlighted that murder, enslavement, forced abortion and enforced disappearances were continuing in DPRK.

But he added that relations between DPRK and the Republic of Korea had evolved significantly in recent years, amid calls for both countries to speed up family reunifications.

Other panellists included Japanese civil society organizations.

They described the plight of hundreds of Japanese citizens that are thought to have been abducted by DPRK authorities.

All allegations were denied by DPRK.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1'19"

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