[JURIST] The South Korean National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) [official website, in English] said Tuesday that it will begin an official investigation of alleged human rights violations by North Korea, adding that it will begin the investigation by interviewing North Korean defectors in April. NHRCK spokesperson Lee Myung-jae said the organization has been annually collecting information from defectors from North Korea since 2004.
Earlier this month, the US State Department heavily criticized the rights record of North Korea [JURIST report], categorizing it as one of the world's top rights violators and accusing the North Korean regime of controlling almost all aspects of citizens' lives, denying freedom of speech, press assembly, and association, and restricting freedom of movement and workers' rights. In January, UN special rapporteur Vitit Muntarbhorn said that the North Korean regime has shown no improvement in its human rights record [JURIST report] and continues to systematically torture its citizens. AP has more.