<국제/영문판>IADL/COLAP fact-finding commission releases final report on “Waitresses Case”(4-10)

북,'12 식당 여종업원 납치사건', 국제민주, 아,태 연합변호사협회의 사실확인 최종보고서 제1차 원본연재 (제4편)

프레스아리랑 | 입력 : 2019/12/07 [07:50]

 

 

Continue from part (3-10)

 

 IADL/COLAP fact-finding commission releases final report on “Waitresses Case” 

 8 October 2019

 

Map illustrating the division of Korea and the armistice line of the Korean War, still unresolved.

 

 

An International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and the Confederation of Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific (COLAP) fact-finding commission released the final report of its delegation to Korea on 30 September 2019.

 

The fact-finding commission’s work centered on the case of 12 young women, citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (frequently referred to as North Korea). This case is well-known in Korean media as the “Waitresses case.” The 12 women were allegedly trafficked from their work at the Ryukyeong Korean Restaurant in Ningbo, China, via Malaysia, to Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea (referred to as South Korea.) The women’s families and representatives of the DPRK have stated that the women were kidnapped against their will with the involvement of South Korean intelligence agencies.

The fact-finding commission consisted of Jun Sasomoto, General Secretary of the Confederation of Lawyers for Asia and the Pacific; Micol Savia, permanent representative of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers at the United Nations in Geneva; and Niloufer Bhagwat, Vice President of the Confederation of
Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific. It followed up on the work of a preparatory committee, which consisted of Sasamoto, Savia, and veteran French lawyer Roland Weyl, First Vice President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.

Read the full report below or download the PDF here.

 

 Continue from (part 3-10)

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their families;  at the same time they were worried about their families, as they 

were made apprehensive of  repercussions on their family  by  agencies in

South Korea  controlling and attempting to influence them in the detention

centre and thereafter when they   were being  monitored  by  the National

Intelligence Service and the National Police Agency continuously. The four 

young women representative of the group of 12  who were interviewed  spoke

the truth  about the deception practiced on them; they  were clearly victims ,

apprehensive about their situation  ; fearful that they would be suddenly

imprisoned because they had given the interview or face reprisals from South

Korean authorities ; they cried remembering  their families and were willing to

be repatriated to the DPRK ( North Korea), stating  that it was difficult for

them to live in the Republic of Korea ( South Korea ) where they faced social

discrimination and were unable to adjust to living  conditions , and said that life

in Pyongyang was better. Some of the 12 young women were issued passports

after this interview was broadcast, to deflect public criticism; however the

Reporter stated that these passports were of no use to the 12 young women as

they were given no assistance to reunite with their families in the DPRK.

      The anchor and reporter informed the Joint Fact Finding Committee,  that 

the interview with the Manager and four  young women took place  a few 

months earlier  in  February 2018,  prior to the broadcast ; however the JTBC 

broadcast was delayed till May 11, 2018, at the request of the government of

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the Republic of Korea , at the highest level, as the government did not want the 

negotiations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea  on wider issues

and  at Summit levels, to be adversely affected  by the details given in the

interview by the Manager and the four young women of the role of the National

Intelligence  Service of Korea , the Unification Ministry and other institutions,

officials  and agencies. .

       The Joint Fact Finding Committee was impressed by the seriousness and

the dedication of the JTBC ‘ Spotlight’ anchor, and the Reporter’s  deep

concern  regarding  the  future and welfare of the young women  whom he had

interacted  with  and interviewed; apart from the political and criminal aspects 

of the case, as he emphasized to the Committee ,  that  the young women are

suffering from a feeling of acute isolation and abandonment by  society, 

retreating into apathy and  a psychological condition of extreme hopelessness,

as despite all efforts made by them to reveal the truth in public

interviews ,braving  the possibility of repercussions and reprisals in South

Korea society;  their efforts to  meet the UN  Special Rapporteur  on Human

Rights,  Mr. Quintana,  and to  go public with the real facts ; no official or

agency of the government of the Republic of Korea ( South Korea ) and no

United Nations agency on Human Rights,  has come to their rescue or  initiated

any steps to reunite them with their families .The journalist expressed serious

concern about  the psychological state of the young women and urged  that

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steps should be taken urgently to reunite them with their families; that this was

the only way forward and that the delay in the report of  National Human

Rights Commission of the Republic of Korea “ is   in itself a violation of the

Human Rights of the 12 young women” who are the victims ; as  by merely 

passing time , preventing the young women from any contact with their

families in the DPRK, isolating them and keeping them in South Korea by

delaying publishing the truth, the authorities in South Korea  hoped that the 12

young women would adjust to life in South Korea;  fall back on the assistance

of  their captors , and be absorbed in South Korean society ; without the

officials and institutions involved  having to reveal the truth of the serious

nature of the  crime committed by the National Intelligence Service  and other

officials and agencies . 

I. The Joint Finding Committee being aware that there was an Office of the

United Nations  Commissioner for Human Rights  at Seoul , sought an

interview  to ascertain whether this Human Rights Mission had interacted with

the 12 young women or even  with a few of them in an attempt to resolve the

issue arising from this case . Two representatives of the OHCHR , Signe

Paulson  assisted by Imesh Pokherel, interacted with  the Joint Fact Finding

Committee at the  office  of the OHCHR at  the  Global Center, Seoul,  on 

August 28 , 2019. .Representatives of the OHCHR stated that they had heard of

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the case, but did not met the young women as their mandate from the United

Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, was only to investigate

violations of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

(North Korea) and they had no mandate to investigate violations of human

rights in the Republic of Korea (South Korea).

     The Joint Fact Finding Committee queried representatives of the OHCHR at

Seoul in the context of this case , as to  whether a country specific mandate

only to investigate any alleged  violations of human rights committed by the 

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea  ( North Korea ) ,  and not to

investigate  violation of human rights such as in this case, was not prima facie

discriminatory inter se between the two  countries; that in  view of the existing 

global reality , that  in practically every country of the world there are  human

right violations,  it would be more appropriate to have regional missions rather

than a country specific mission; as in some cases singling out of  some

countries , as violators of human rights as in the case of Libya; led to the

unjustified  bombing ,invasion and destruction of Libby ; whereas insufficient

or no cognizance was  being taken of  serious violations of human rights by 

some other countries, namely  major powers, who were  treated in a more

privileged manner by the OHCHR. Representatives of the mission expressed

their inability to answer this question, stating that they did their work on the

authorization of Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights.

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    When questioned about whether they were aware of the meeting of the

Manager and the two young women with the UN Special Rapporteur for

Human Rights, Mr. Quintana, when the Special Rapporteurn had come to Seoul, 

reported  by the media;  representatives of the OHCHR at Seoul ,  informed the

Joint Fact Finding Committee that they were not concerned with this meeting .

as the UN Special Rapporteur   met these persons under his own authority  

J. The Joint Fact Finding Committee interacted with representatives of several

organizations on the evening of August 28. These organizations are  members

of the “  Pan Citizens Alliance for Countermeasures to Solve the  Case of the

North Korean  Women Restaurant Employees”, a  National Alliance of several

organizations in the Republic of Korea focusing attention on and working to

resolve the issue .The  Pan Citizens Alliance presented a  memorandum  to the

Joint Fact Finding Committee which briefly explained  why the 12 young

women are not ‘political defectors’, and referred  in this  memorandum

specifically to the involvement of the National Intelligence Service of the

Republic of Korea , as per the self –confessed interview of the Manager  Heo

Gang –il and the four young women restaurant employees  on  JTBC 

Television ,  also aired   by CNN ,  with    Heo Gang –il disclosing : “ I have

brought the workers upon the request of the NIS ahead of the general election.”

These organizations emphasized that it was necessary to resolve the issue in the

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interests of “the reunification and unity of the Korean nation “.  The

memorandum called for the investigation and prosecution of the former Chief of

the National Intelligence Service, Lee Byung-ho, and the former Unification

Minister Hong Young-pyo. 

K .On 30th August on completion of investigations at Seoul, the Joint Fact

Finding Committee held a press conference and gave press interviews on the

preliminary findings on their investigations at   Seoul.  On August 30 ,2019

Members of the Joint Fact Finding Committee, Jun Sasomoto and Niloufer

Bhagwat left for Pyongyang . The third member Micol Savia, earlier a member

of the three member preparatory committee visiting Seoul from May 24 – 27,

2019, due to urgent professional work was unable to accompany the Committee

to Pyongyang.

III. Investigations at Pyongyang 

    The Joint Fact Finding Committee arrived at Pyongyang , Democratic

People’s Republic of Korea on 31st August  and  held a   meeting  with Bang

Gum Chan,  Secretary General of the Democratic Lawyers Association  of the

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea  and with  Hong Kwang Hyon, head of 

the National Reconciliation Council and member  of  Korean Emergency

Measures Committee for Abducted Persons ,  on the necessity for the Joint

Investigation Committee to record oral depositions and  statements of witnesses

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who had personally witnessed  the episode at Ningbo, China ; namely   the   

evidence of 7 women  colleagues  of the 12 young women restaurant

employees  who were taken away to Seoul , as these 7 young women who were

left behind ,  were also employed  at the same  Korean restaurant and were part

of the team of 19 women restaurant employees  at Ningbo , China on 5th April

2016. The Team originally consisted of 20 women restaurant employees and

one Manager ,  recruited in the DPRK who come together in a team  of 21 to

China,  to run Korean restaurants; however one out of the team of 20 women

restaurant employees  left for the DPRK  prior to April 5, 2016  due to personal

reasons. 

     It was necessary for the Committee to question   the 7 young women

restaurant employees to ascertain the circumstances in which 12 young women

restaurant employees were taken away to Seoul, while 7 others remained

behind. It was also important for the Committee to hear the account and

reactions of at least one member from each of the families of the 12 young

women, and to interview representatives of concerned organizations at

Pyongyang.

  On  the request of the Joint Fact Finding Committee  the  Secretary General of

the Democratic Lawyers Association of the DPRK  and Hong Kwang Hyon, 

representative  of   the Korean Emergency Measures Committee for Abducted

Persons ,  arranged for the Joint Fact Finding Committee to record the

 

 

(will be continue)

 

September 30, 2019  

Jun Sasomoto   Secretary General of the Confederation of Lawyers for Asia and the Pacific.   

 

 Micol Savia  

IADL representative to the United Nations in Geneva 

 

(Present as part of the preparatory delegation in May 24- 27, 2019 and for investigation at Seoul between August 26 - August 30, 2019) 

  

Niloufer Bhagwat 

Vice President   

Confederation of Lawyers for Asia and the Pacific    

 

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