U.N. panel to hear about abductions


A United Nations human rights commission will hold public hearings about North Korea on Aug. 29 and 30 in Tokyo, including on Pyongyang’s abductions of Japanese citizens, U.N. officials said.

The hearings are designed to collect information on grave human rights violations in the North and raise international awareness of the issue, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said Friday.

The commission, chaired by Michael Kirby, also includes Marzuki Darusman, a U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights situation in North Korea, and Sonja Biserko, a Serbian human rights campaigner. They were commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council. The hearings will be held at the United Nations University in Shibuya Ward.

During their stay in Japan from Aug. 27 to 31, the commissioners will meet with Japanese government officials and hold a news conference on the final day. The commission will first hold similar public hearings in Seoul from Tuesday through Saturday.

An interim report will be presented by the commission to a UNHRC meeting in Geneva in September and to the U.N. General Assembly session in New York in October. A final report will be submitted to the council next March.