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Issue of N.K. overseas workers could be included in new U.N. resolution: sources

2016/10/16 09:48

SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Yonhap) -- The issue of North Korea's overseas workers, who are believed to work in dismal conditions, might be included in a human rights resolution by the United Nations in December for the first time, sources said Sunday.

South Korea, the United States and Japan are said to be working together to mention in the resolution their dire working conditions, such as long working hours and restrictions on their physical movement.

On top of human rights violations, another concern is that part of the money they send back home is suspected to flow into the regime to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including its nuclear program.

Last month, Willy Fautre from Human Rights Without Borders estimated around 50,000 North Koreans work in 16 countries that annually send US$1.2-2.3 billion back home. Another estimate said there are more than 100,000 North Koreans working overseas.

"Issues related to North Korea's overseas workers will be extensively discussed in many international forums. ... You will see the discussion (take place) in the near future," said Foreign Affairs Minister Yun Byung-se at a regular parliamentary audit session Thursday.

Tomas Ojea Quintana, U.N. special rapporteur on North Korean human rights, has recently submitted a report on North Korea's human rights conditions to the General Assembly's Third Committee.

The U.N. General Assembly has been condemning the regime's horrible human rights violations by annually adopting a resolution since the 2000s.