According to The Hankyoreh, the United Nations has been conducting an investigation into the detention of North Korean restaurant workers by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS). 12 North Korean workers are currently being kept under supervision by the NIS at its North Korean Defectors Protection Center (formerly a joint interrogation center). Their families have alleged that they are the victims of a mass kidnapping by the NIS and are being held against their will in South Korea. (For a background on this story, read our earlier post.)
The Hankyoreh reported that officials of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) are to visit Pyongyang towards the end of this month in order to interview family members of the restaurant workers. Last April, the workers’ parents in North Korea sent a written letter requesting assistance from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the president of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Subsequently since June, the OHCHR has been requesting arrangements to meet with the North Korean restaurant workers on multiple occasions, but the South Korean government has continually denied these requests.
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