|Suzanne Scholte, head of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, speaks during the opening ceremony of the 19th North Korea Freedom Week held in central Seoul, Sept. 26. Yonhap|
A renowned U.S. activist on North Korean human rights called Monday for more efforts to help the people in the reclusive nation access information from the outside world, as an annual weeklong campaign designed to enhance public awareness on the issue got underway.
Suzanne Scholte, head of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, issued the appeal during the opening ceremony of the 19th North Korea Freedom Week in central Seoul, reiterating concerns about the country's rights situation under the Kim Jong-un regime.
"The president of Korea must uphold the rights of every Korean wherever they are," she said. "We should be doing everything in our power to get information in North Korea, by land, by sea and by air."
Scholte, who has long campaigned for improvement in the North's human rights situation, also criticized the preceding liberal Moon Jae-in administration of the South, arguing that Moon "turned his back on the people of North Korea."
The event was attended by some North Korean defectors and rights advocates, including defector-turned-lawmaker Rep. Tae Yong-ho of the ruling People Power Party and former Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo.
This year's North Korea Freedom Week, which runs through Saturday, will feature a series of events, including forums on the North's rights related issues.
On Friday, Seoul's unification ministry urged local activist groups to refrain from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border amid concerns that the move could lead to the escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula. (Yonhap)