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S. Korea to carry out first in-depth inquiry into forced labor in N. Korea

By Yonhap

Published : June 18, 2023 - 11:37

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Unification Ministry press briefing at the government complex in Seoul, Wednesday (Yonhap) Unification Ministry press briefing at the government complex in Seoul, Wednesday (Yonhap)

South Korea plans to carry out its first in-depth inquiry into forced labor practices in North Korea through interviews with defectors who have arrived in South Korea over the past five years, sources said Sunday.

North Korean Human Rights Records Center will conduct the interviews through the end of the year to learn details of the forced labor practices taking place at North Korea's detention facilities, schools and various social organizations, according to the sources.

The inquiry by the center affiliated with the unification ministry will look into changes in forced labor practices before and after the launch of the Kim Jong-un regime and the relevant laws and systems of forced labor. Kim took over North Korea in 2011 after the sudden death of his father and longtime leader Kim Jong-il.

The results will not be disclosed to the public and will only be used by the government to draw up policies on North Korean human rights.

Last year, the unification ministry conducted an in-depth inquiry into women's rights and labor rights in North Korea.

In 2014, the UN Commission of Inquiry issued a report after a yearlong probe that stated North Korean leaders are responsible for "widespread, systematic and gross" violations of human rights. (Yonhap)