In its 652-page ‘World Report 2020’, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in nearly 100 countries, including North Korea.
Among other things, the report points out that in 2019, the South Korean government prioritized diplomatic negotiations with North Korea over human rights advocacy.
President Moon did not raise human rights when he met with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, in February 2019, in keeping with his approach in earlier meetings with Kim in 2017 and 2018. And in a troubling move in October, Moon’s government deported two North Korean fishermen to face murder charges in North Korea, where they most likely face torture and execution. In November, the government then dropped its traditional co-sponsoring of a resolution condemning North Korea’s horrific rights record at the United Nations General Assembly.
“President Moon Jae-in, who started his legal career fighting for human rights, is in several ways failing to promote them now,” said John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
“President Moon needs to abandon his flawed North Korea policy, which is based on the hope that overlooking Pyongyang’s crimes will increase inter-Korean engagement and dialogue,” Sifton said. “The North Korean government is never going to improve its human rights record unless the world demands it, and South Korea needs to lead the rallying cry for that to happen.”
[Human Rights Watch]