Marzuki Darusman, member of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) tasked by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate human rights abuses in North Korea, met with Japanese minister Keiji Furuya on Wednesday morning, 9 April, to discuss North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.
During the meeting, Furuya, who is in charge of the abduction issue, briefed Darusman on Japan's efforts to address the issue thus far. The Japanese minister also emphasized the importance of carrying out the recommendations of the COI's recent report and suggested that the United Nations establish an Asia office to improve its ability to deal with the abduction issue and other human rights violations. Furuya and Darusman agreed to strengthen cooperation, with the aim of moving investigations forward. Darusman is also scheduled to visit the families of some of those abducted, including the parents of Megumi Yokota, who was reportedly abducted by North Korea in 1977 at 13 years old.
Mr. Darusman also met with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday and thanked Japan for its cooperation in preparing the Commission's report. The report will be presented to the U.N. Security Council at its meeting on April 17, where it is expected to be the subject of debate. The COI had revealed its findings at a press conference in Geneva on 17 February. In the report, the COI said that there is “reasonable grounds” to establish that crimes against humanity are committed with impunity in the DPRK and that these crimes are “based on decisions and policies approved at the highest level of the state.”
Marzuki Darusman, who has had a distinguished career in public service, serves as the Executive Director of the Human Rights Resource Centre.