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Son of S. Korean pastor detained in N. Korea to urge repatriation at UN session

March 18, 2024 - 10:42 By Yonhap
Human rights activists holds a press conference in front of Seoul's foreign ministry building to call for the government to actively raise the issue of South Koreans abducted and detained in North Korea as well as prisoners of wars at the session of the UN Human Rights Council, Wednesday. (Yonhap)

A son of Choe Chun-gil, a South Korean pastor detained in North Korea, plans to call for international cooperation for North Korea's repatriation of his father and other detainees at a UN session in Switzerland, Seoul's unification ministry said Monday.

Choe is one of six South Koreans currently detained in North Korea for years, including two other pastors, Kim Jung-wook and Kim Kuk-gi, with their whereabouts or fates unknown.

Choe's son will visit Geneva for a four-day trip through Thursday in a bid to muster international attention on North Korea's abductee issue on the occasion of the ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council, the ministry said.

He is expected to urge the international community to support efforts to confirm the fates of his father and other detained South Koreans as well as press North Korea to repatriate them, it added.

He will meet with key figures handling North Korea's human rights issue, such as Elizabeth Salmon, the UN special rapporteur for North Korean human rights, and Julie Turner, the US special representative for North Korean human rights. The son will also attend a related event to be hosted by the South Korean permanent mission in Geneva on Tuesday.

The ministry earlier said the government plans to seek international cooperation with the United States, Japan and Canada to help resolve the North's abductee issue, as those nations saw some of their nationals fall victim to Pyongyang's inhumane act.

The conservative Yoon Suk Yeol government views the issue of South Korean abductees and detainees as a pressing humanitarian one, saying it is a violation of human rights against South Korean citizens. (Yonhap)