The ministry, which handles inter-Korean relations, said that it would terminate the lease contract for the office in Seoul this month to prevent further waste of government funds, estimated at around 63 million won ($58,120) every month. The office has been vacant since it was first rented 21 months ago.
“The move is only an administrative and operational measure to stem further financial losses. The government’s stance to launch the foundation on human rights for North Korean citizens as soon as possible remains unchanged,” the ministry said.
|(Ministry of Unification)|
The foundation had aimed to conduct research and support civic groups to improve North Korea’s human rights situation under a law that went into effect in September 2016.
But it had yet to be formally launched due to a delay in the parliamentary process to recommend candidates for its board members.
North Korea has long been labeled one of the worst human rights violators in the world. Pyongyang has bristled at such criticism, calling it a US-led attempt to topple its regime.
US President Donald Trump reportedly mentioned the human rights issue in the North during his recent historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore. Critics, however, say that he has not made sufficient efforts in dealing with the dismal human rights situations in the communist state. (Yonhap)