North Korean diplomats disrupt Human Rights seminar in Indonesia

North Korean diplomats stormed into a seminar on North Korean human rights in Jakarta, which was being held by South Korean and Indonesian activists.

Officials from the North Korean Embassy in Jakarta drove up to the seminar and harangued staff of the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM), an Indonesian policy advocacy organization.  And when South Korean activists tried to show a video exposing the North’s human rights abuses, the North Koreans demanded they stop the presentation and show a North Korean publicity video.

Kim Song-hak, the political attaché of the embassy, told participants that the rights abuse claims are “100-percent incorrect” and pointed out that the North provides free medical services and education.  “There can be no human rights problems in North Korea,” Kim said.

Two North Korean diplomats also attempted to enter another seminar on Thursday attended by ASEAN officials, but were held back by organizers.

South Korean activists from the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights are holding seminars, exhibitions and performance for North Korean Human Rights Week this week throughout Indonesia.

[Chosun Ilbo]

One thought on “North Korean diplomats disrupt Human Rights seminar in Indonesia

  1. After this incident, Chosun Ilbo reports North Korea abruptly recalled its ambassador to Indonesia, Ri Jong-ryul, probably to take him to task on not being successful in quelling the seminars highlighting North Korean human rights abuses!

    North Korean Embassy officials had been upset when they learned of the seminars jointly organized with ELSAM, an Indonesian policy advocacy organization and South Korea’s Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights. The North Korean Embassy lobbied the Indonesian government to block the seminars, but to no avail. Then, after a series of events in the Southeast Asian nation centering on the human rights situation in North Korea, the South Korean Embassy requested police protection.

    Only a few months ago the North Korean Embassy in Jakarta appeared to be in a festive mood after a memorandum of understanding was signed with Indonesia on scientific and cultural exchange and cooperation between universities, a South Korean Embassy official said.

    Historically, North Korean regime founder Kim Il-sung visited Indonesia in 1965, establishing a special relationship that has lasted until today. Last year North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a personal letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo on his election and invited him to Pyongyang. But recently the Indonesian government has been less than enthusiastic, especially since Marzuki Darusman, a former Indonesian prosecutor general, is now the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the North, and Indonesian activists have condemned human rights abuses in the North.

    Kim Suk-woo, a former vice unification minister and advisor to the South Korean activists, said, “The North is reacting sensitively because it’s well aware of the consequences that would ensue if Indonesia casts a yes vote in a UN resolution on North Korean human rights.” [Note: Indonesia is one of a few countries along with China, Cuba, Russia, Sudan and Zimbabwe which have never voted in favor of a UN resolution on North Korean human rights.]

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