• Kyodo

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Japan, the European Union, and other countries submitted a draft resolution Thursday to a committee of the U.N. General Assembly, denouncing North Korea’s abduction of foreign nationals.

The draft, presented to the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with human rights, describes the abduction of foreign nationals in past decades as part of North Korea’s “systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

The text also states that there are “unresolved questions of international concern relating to the abduction of foreigners in the form of an enforced disappearance, which violates the human rights of the nationals of the other sovereign countries.”

While Japan had previously regarded the enforced disappearances as a matter of national concern, with the discovery that other nationals were similarly taken, the current text version reflects how the issue has international implications by saying that the committee should be “mindful of the need for the international community to strengthen its coordinated efforts.”

In addition to specifically addressing the abduction issue, the draft also spells out other concerns, including the treatment of escapees who are returned to North Korea, the restrictions imposed upon various individual freedoms, the trafficking of humans, particularly of women, as well as the various economic, social and cultural rights that have led to malnutrition, among other things.

Last November, the EU submitted a draft resolution to the same committee with the sponsorship of Japan, the U.S. and other countries, denouncing North Korea by name for its human rights violations for the first time, which has been a basis for this version.

However, there were minor revisions that carried a slightly stronger condemnation with the idea of keeping this issue under constant review.

As opposed to the first text, the current version also calls on U.N. Secretary General-designate Ban Ki Moon to submit a “comprehensive report” on North Korean human rights record to the next General Assembly session, as well as the special rapporteur to report his findings and recommendations. Ban is currently the foreign minister of South Korea, scores of whose citizens were believed abducted.

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