A United Nations commission that was tasked to investigate human rights violations and abuses in North Korea has published a report on its findings on Monday, and it is urging that the hermit country repatriate Japanese citizens that it abducted decades ago. North Korea itself has admitted to sanctioning the abductions, but as of the moment have not repatriated all of them. Relatives of the abductees in Japan are still hoping that they may be reunited with their loved ones in one way or another.
The UN-sanctioned group, called the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights, was created last year specifically for investigating human rights issues in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, the official name of North Korea). The commission has held public hearings in Japan, South Korea, Europe and other pertinent locations, but its members were refused entry into the target country by the North Korean government. In their report, the commission says that “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations” was sanctioned from the highest levels of the North Korean government, including crimes against humanity. These “enforced disappearances are unique in their intensity, scale and nature,” the commission said in their report.
Commission Chairman Michael Donald Kirby of Australia said in a news conference that most of the responsibility in these issues are with North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jong-Un. To ensure accountability and that those responsible are brought to justice, the commission suggests that the UN Security Council engage the International Criminal Court, or that the council establish an ad hoc tribunal. As of the moment, it is unclear how effective the report’s recommendations will be, but the document is expected to increase international awareness of the abductions.