NORTH KOREA talks sidelining human rights : UN rapporteur.

The North Korean talk process with the US and the South is sidelining the human rights of Pyongyang's oppressed citizens, the UN's top official on the issue said Monday.

In a whirlwind of diplomacy, the leader of the isolated, nuclear-armed North, Kim Jung Un held an unprecedented summit with the US President Donald Trump in Singapore last month, after two-earlier meetings with the South's Moon Jae-in.

It was a marked contrast to the mutual threats and mounting fears of last year, instead raising hopes of reaching a deal over over North Korea's arsenal, which include nuclear bombs and missile capable of reaching the US mainland.

But Pyongyang remains accused by many - including the UN - of a litany of rights abuses against its population.

Neither the joint statement issued by Trump and Kim in Singapore, nor the earlier Panmunjom Declaration signed by Kim and Moon, mentioned the issue of human rights.

"It seems that those who are negotiating are losing sight of this important thing, which is would this process benefit at the end the people living in North Korea," said Tomas Ojea Quintana, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the North.

Instead Washington and Seoul were prioritizing their own concerns, he said.

"In principle the interests that the president of the United States has shown that they want to denuclearize North Korea so that their territory is not in danger, and that of course is something that has to do with their own interests," Ojea Quintana told AFP in Seoul.

"I'm still trying to understand to what extent human rights was raised" by Trump in Singapore, the Argentinian lawyer added.

"It seems it was not comprehensively addressed."

He was particularly concerned, he said, by Trump's remarks that the focus should be on the future rather than the past.

"Those are not the kind of statements that we those who advocate for human rights would like to hear," he said, "especially from someone who is negotiating with the leadership" of
North Korea.


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