UN calls on NK for actions

Professor Muntarbhorn addressed his concerns for the kidnapped Japanese held in North Korea during his visit to Tokyo.

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UN Should Act On N Korea Human Rights - Envoy

Tuesday January 27th, 2009 / 11h12
TOKYO (AFP)--The United Nations envoy on human rights in North Korea said Tuesday that the entire United Nations should work together to improve the "grim" situation in the hardline communist nation.
"I ask the total U.N. system to act, on the basis of graduated pressures, graduated influences," Vitit Muntarbhorn said in Tokyo.
He said there was "a time for the incentives, a time for other actions. That is my approach."
Muntarbhorn, a law professor at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University, noted that the former U.N. Commission on Human Rights created his position in 2004 and that the General Assembly has also put pressure on North Korea.
"Particularly, civil society has been advocating that this issue should be taken up at the top level of the United Nations, the Security Council," Muntarbhorn said.
"And that of course depends on the political will, particularly of the permanent members of the Security Council," he said, referring to the U.K., China, France, Russia and the United States.
Muntarbhorn said the human rights situation in North Korea "is really grim." "We get many reports of violations - public executions, ... torture, political detention camps of enormous proportion," he said.
He said that authorities were also trying to assert control over the population through restrictions on food, a scarce commodity in a nation that suffers severe malnutrition.
Muntarbhorn was in Japan largely for talks on North Korea's abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.
North Korea in 2002 returned five of the abduction victims, who had been kidnapped to train the regime's spies. But Japan demands more answers on the fate of others.
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