During a United Nations Human Rights Council hearing on violations in North Korea, the reclusive state’s ambassador to the UN walked out of the session during the Japanese representative’s turn on the floor. The council was convened to discuss the 400-page report by a team of independent investigators who looked into allegations of massive human rights violations in North Korea.
When Shigeo Iizuka, the head of the Japanese Association of Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea (AFVKN), started addressing the council, North Korean ambassador So Se Pyon interrupted and asked the council if he was “a representative of the government of Japan or not.” When council president Baudelaire Ndong Ella said that Iizuka was duly accredited, So stood up and walked out of the session room to protest.
Izuka’s sister, Yaeko Taguchi, is one of the dozens of Japanese nationals that Pyongyang admitted to abducting during the 70s and 80s. North Korean officials claim that eight of the abducted had already died, including Taguchi, and that some of them had committed suicide. Tokyo has rejected these claims and for years has demanded a reinvestigation into the matter. The UN investigators, headed by Australian Michael Kirby, said that they estimate that around 200,000 people have either been abducted by the North Korean government or disappeared when traveling in the country. “These international enforced disappearances are unique in their intensity, scale and nature,” said a statement from the report.
[ via AFP ]
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