UN renews effort to locate abductees in North Korea

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The United Nations has renewed pressure on North Korea to reveal details about hundreds of people abducted decades ago. Argentine lawyer Tomás Ojea Quintana, the special rapporteur on North Korea, made the comment in Tokyo Saturday, after completing a 10-day mission to South Korea and Japan. He also met with defectors and families of individuals abducted by North Korean agents. A final report is due to be released in March.

Ojea Quintana told lawmakers in Japan that he was committed to advancing the return of Japanese taken by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s. Japan has officially listed 17 nationals as abductees, but it suspects Pyongyang’s involvement in many more.

The 2014 report issued by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry into the Human Rights of North Korea found that North Korea had “engaged in the systematic abduction, denial of repatriation, and subsequent enforced disappearance of persons from other countries.” While most abductees were taken from Japan and South Korea, others were taken from countries including Thailand, Romania, Lebanon, Malaysia, Singapore, France, Italy, the Netherlands and China.

Anocha Panjoy, a Thai woman, went missing in Macao in 1978 while working as a masseuse.

North Korean defector Kim Dong Nam said his son was abducted from China by North Korean agents almost a decade ago (2007). The boy had planned to travel to the United States, but agents learned of those plans through colleagues who’d been captured earlier. “They weren’t able to withstand the torture,” Kim said, noting the colleagues had been “sent back to North Korea and tortured and forced to work for hours – tremendous hours” in a camp.


This entry was posted in , , , by Grant Montgomery.

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