US President Biden Nominated Julie Turner as North Korea Human Rights Envoy: The White House nominated a special envoy for human rights in North Korea, moving to fill a post that has been empty since 2017 amid debate over how rights issues fit with efforts to counter Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme. President Joe Biden nominated Julie Turner, a long-time diplomat and current director of the Office of East Asia and the Pacific in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the Department of State. The announcement comes as the United States and South Korea, whose new conservative leader, Yoon Suk Yeol, has also turned his focus to human rights issues, are taking a harder approach toward Pyongyang.
January 2023 Current Affairs Quiz
More About The Development:
The special envoy position, and a similar one in South Korea, had become controversial as preceding administrations tried to bring North Korea to the negotiating table. Human rights, according to some activists, have been neglected in favour of issues related to national security.
Human Rights Push By President Biden:
Biden vowed repeatedly after taking office in 2021 that human rights would be at the centre of his foreign policy, but the position had remained vacant.
South Korea’s ambassador on North Korean human rights expressed disappointment last year that Biden’s administration had yet to appoint an envoy for the issue at the time.
North Korea’s Position:
North Korea has repeatedly rejected accusations of human rights abuses and blames sanctions for a dire humanitarian situation. It accuses Washington and Seoul of using the issue as a political tool to smear Pyongyang’s reputation.
A landmark 2014 U.N. report on North Korean human rights concluded that North Korean security chiefs – and possibly leader Kim Jong Un himself – should face justice for overseeing a state-controlled system of Nazi-style atrocities. Since then, North Korea’s coronavirus controls, according to UN investigators, have exacerbated human rights breaches. They cite more information access limitations, stricter border security, and heightened digital surveillance.