Both Koreas Suffer for Their Ideological Disagreement

26 May

Park Jung-geun Amnesty International released its Report 2012 calling for a “strong Arms Trade treaty” and tighter regulation of global financial institutions.

No surprises on North Korea: it’s bad. In the wake of worsening relations between North Korea and South Korea under Lee Myung-bak’s presidential leadership and the accession of Kim Jong-un in April, hundreds of government officials were imprisoned in camps or executed.

In its annual study, Amnesty International claimed that in addition to the 30 who died in purges last year, a further 200 were rounded up in January this year by the State Security Agency as Pyongyang carried out the transfer of power from Kim Jong-il, who died of an apparent heart attack in December, and his 29-year-old son, Kim Jong-un.

Of those 200, Amnesty said, some were apparently executed and the remainder were sent to political prison camps. The gulag system presently contains an estimated 200,000 people in “horrific conditions,” the group said.

North Korea has a habit of executing bureaucrats who are perceived to have failed the regime, even though they are often merely carrying out the orders of higher-ranking officials or members of the ruling family.

…The 30 men executed for failing to improve Pyongyang’s ties with Seoul are considered scapegoats for the new low point in inter-Korean ties.

And, in South Korea, the Report highlights violations involving the National Security Law (NSL). In February, Amnesty International, in the cases of Park Jung-geun and Kim Myung-soo, ridiculed the abuse of the NSL, to “…police the Internet for so-called suspicious political thought. On occasion, it has swept up South Koreans like Park who have joked on Twitter; security officials take particular aim at online postings deemed sympathetic to Pyongyang…Scholar and online bookseller Kim Myung-soo in the city of Suwon is another South Korean whose life has been altered by the National Security Law. Since 2007, he has battled charges under the law that he “aided the enemy” by marketing hard-to-find North Korean literature.”

In May, online bookseller Kim Myeong-soo was acquitted of the charge of violating Article 7(5) of the NSL. He had been accused of selling 140 books and possessing 170 others “with the intention of endangering the existence and security of the State.” Prosecutors appealed against his acquittal.

Additionally, South Korea has problems with immigration policy, the highest profile being Michel Catura’s.

Conservative think tank, Brookings Institute, has called for a de-linking of the nuclear and human rights issues.

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