Домой GRASP/Korea South Korea Proposes Reclassifying North Korean Abductees as Missing

South Korea Proposes Reclassifying North Korean Abductees as Missing


Human Rights groups have denounced a proposed South Korean law to reclassify the cases of South Korean citizens being held in the repressive North
A proposed South Korean law to reclassify abductees held in the North as “missing persons,” is drawing strong criticism from human rights advocates.
“Abduction is a crime. Missing person is not classified under international law as a crime. So the question is why would you do that?” asked Joanna Hosaniak with the Seoul based advocacy group Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights (NKHR.)
NKHR was one of 11 human rights organizations that sent a joint letter of complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Office in Seoul about the proposed South Korean National Assembly bill that would remove the term “abductee” in referring to cases of South Korean citizens that are believed to have been captured and held indefinitely by the communist North.
The bill cites the need to replace the accusatory and criminal classification of abductee because it “draws resistance from North Korea,” and to replace it with the term “missing person” instead.
​ Forgotten families
After the 1950-53 Korean War, North Korea returned most prisoners of war, but reportedly forced thousands of South Korean citizens to remain to help rebuild national industries, schools and other basic state functions. In the decades after, thousands more were reportedly abducted by North Korea. Most of them were fishermen, who were purportedly taken to gain intelligence or serve some propaganda purpose in the ongoing inter-Korean cold war.
NKHR, working closely on this issue with victims’ families and the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, has documented more than 500 cases of Korean abductees still being held in the North, and of that number 300 are more than 70 years old.
Families of the abductees say the government in Seoul has long ignored this contentious issue because it would complicate efforts to confront the North when tensions are high over its nuclear provocations, or to engage Pyongyang when diplomatic efforts are underway to improve relations.

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