Complaint Filed Against South Korean President Yoon Over Diplomatic Appointment Amid InvestigationSouth Korea’s Advisory Committee on North Korea Human Rights Initiates Second Term

SEOUL — A civic organization has lodged a formal complaint against President Yoon Suk Yeol, alleging improper conduct related to the overseas appointment of the new Ambassador to Australia, Lee Jong-sup, during an ongoing investigation.

According to Yonhap News Agency, " the organization accuses President Yoon, along with the foreign and justice ministers, of facilitating the departure of Lee Jong-sup, who is under investigation. Lee, the former defense minister, was allowed to leave for Australia shortly after an exit ban was lifted, raising concerns over potential influence on the probe regarding his actions during the investigation into a Marine's death last year. The civic group contends that this move constituted an abuse of power and assisted a suspect in evading scrutiny.

This case has drawn criticism from various quarters, including the opposition Democratic Party, questioning the rationale behind appointing an individual under investigation as an ambassador. The presidential office has responded, stating unawareness of the ongoing investigation and the travel ban against Lee at the time of his ambassadorial nomination, highlighting the controversy surrounding the diplomatic appointment process.

SEOUL — South Korea's Unification Ministry announced on Monday that the advisory committee dedicated to improving human rights in North Korea is set to commence its second term this week, aiming to address ongoing concerns about the North's human rights violations.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the committee, consisting of 12 members, plays a critical role in researching human rights issues in North Korea and providing counsel to the Unification Minister, who serves as South Korea's primary liaison with the North. The committee is scheduled to hold its first session of the new term on Tuesday, introducing new members for their upcoming one-year tenure.

The committee's establishment last year was a step intended to bypass delays in forming the North Korean Human Rights Foundation, a body mandated under the 2016 North Korean Human Rights Act. The foundation's launch was hindered due to the failure of the opposition party to nominate board members. As a result, the advisory committee was created as an interim solution to focus on North Korea's critical human rights challenges, with its initial term concluding earlier this month.

Among the noteworthy additions to the committee are two North Korean defectors in their 30s, reflecting a commitment to incorporate diverse perspectives and firsthand experiences into the committee's work. North Korea's human rights record, characterized by allegations of severe abuses including political imprisonment, torture, and public executions, remains a pressing issue for international observers and the South Korean government.

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