News / Asia

North Korean Defectors to Speak at UN Security Council Meeting

Shin Dong-hyuk, a North Korean defector who has given the U.N. panel harrowing accounts of his life and escape from a prison camp, smiles during an interview with Reuters in Seoul, February 10, 2014.
Shin Dong-hyuk, a North Korean defector who has given the U.N. panel harrowing accounts of his life and escape from a prison camp, smiles during an interview with Reuters in Seoul, February 10, 2014.
Jee Abbey LeeYeon Cheol Lee
— Two North Korean defectors will testify at an informal meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Thursday.

It will be the first time that North Korean defectors will speak to the council about the human rights situation in the reclusive country.

Greg Scarlatoiu, the executive director of the Washington-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, told VOA's Korean Service that defectors Shin Dong-hyuk and Lee Hyeon-seo will appear before the council.  

Shin, a former labor camp escapee and best selling author, has been described as the world’s strongest voice on the atrocities inside the communist country. Similarly, Lee drew international attention since her TED talk in March last year, titled “My Escape from North Korea.”

The U.S. invited the defectors to speak at the forum, which will be an unofficial discussion intended for the private exchange of views.

Michael Kirby, chairman of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea, also will speak. Earlier this year, the commission accused Pyongyang of committing "unspeakable atrocities" against its people.

North Korea refused to cooperate with the inquiry and has rejected its findings.

Japanese relatives of those kidnapped by Pyongyang also will participate in the Security Council forum.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.

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