April 16, 2024

Who really speaks for North Korea’s abduction victims?

Lesser-known cases demonstrate problems with building multilateral consensus

Among the issues raised by the 2014 report by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (UN COI) on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was the kidnapping of foreign nationals by North Korean spies under the direct order of Kim Jong Il, father of current leader Kim Jong Un.

The 2014 COI report found that since 1950, the DPRK government has systematically kidnapped nationals from South Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, Europe and the Middle East. Pyongyang forces them to stay in North Korea, where the commission found that gross human rights violations had taken place – including public executions, enslavement, torture, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence.

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