U.N. body on NK human rights to hold 1st meeting in July

SEOUL, June 28 (Yonhap) -- The United Nations' independent body commissioned to investigate North Korea's human rights violations will hold its first meeting early next month as it kicks off its operations, a news report said Friday.

The three-man Commission of Inquiry (COI) under the U.N. Human Rights Council will hold its first gathering in early July in Geneva, the Washington-based Voice of America said, quoting the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The U.N. established the COI on North Korean human rights violations in March amid increasing international calls to investigate the dire human rights conditions in the isolated country.

The commission is composed of Marzuki Darusman, a U.N. special rapporteur on North Korea and former Indonesian foreign minister; Michael Donald Kirby, a former Australian Supreme Court justice; and Sonja Biserko, a Serbian human rights activist.

The members will announce their investigation plan following the Geneva meeting, according to the report.

The independent body is scheduled to submit its report, containing findings and recommendations on imprisonment, torture and kidnapping, to the U.N. Human Rights Council in March next year

North Korea has been accused of grave human rights abuses ranging from holding hundreds of thousands of political prisoners in concentration camps to committing torture and carrying out public executions. The country, however, has denied the accusations, calling them U.S.-led propaganda to topple its regime.

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