Seoul effectively increases budget for N.K. human rights

According to Yonhap:

South Korea has frozen its annual budget for supporting activities to improve human rights in North Korea this year, though the amount is far higher than what the nation’s human rights body had requested, a state panel said Tuesday.

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) said the overall budget for its activities in 12 categories was cut by 5.38 percent on-year to 4.63 billion won (US$4 million) for the 2010 fiscal year. Funding for research into North Korean defectors and human rights conditions in the socialist state remained unchanged, however, at 331 million won, the independent commission said.

The North Korea-related budget is far larger than 140 million won that the commission initially asked for, indicating that the government is putting an emphasis on the issues.

The North Korea budget will be used to fund local and overseas surveys of defectors from the North and human rights conditions there, as well as to host an international symposium and domestic forums, and to publish and purchase books.

Last week, a parliamentary committee on foreign affairs endorsed a bill calling for the improvement of human rights conditions in the North. If enacted, the bill would be the first of its kind in South Korea. Officials at Seoul’s Unification Ministry in charge of relations with the North said the legislation efforts are “in line with the government’s direction.”

President Lee Myung-bak, who took office about a year ago, has vowed efforts to improve North Korean human rights, breaking away from the policies of his two liberal predecessors who refrained from such moves over concerns about relations with the North.

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Seoul effectively increases budget for N.K. human rights


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