|S Korea Spies Stalk UN Human Rights Envoy|
|by Tom McGregor||Tue, May 18, 2010, 07:41 AM|
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is a native of South Korea, but his high-level U.N. officials have become unwelcomed guests in his homeland. Frank La Rue, a special envoy for the Human Rights Council, disclosed to reporters that he was relentlessly followed by agents from the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
The Korea Times reports that, “Frank La Rue, a special envoy from the United Nations who inspected the nation’s conditions of freedom of speech and expression for 12 days, said Monday he got the cold shoulder from the (South) Korean government, and a lack of cooperation from agencies here hampered his mission.”
Apparently, Mr. La Rue would not describe his recent stay as a “happy” one, even though the Korea Herald claims that in a survey, nine out of 10 visitors to South Korea surveyed in a poll expressed being “happy” with their trip to Seoul.
Not surprisingly, at a press conference held a few hours before his anxiously-anticipated departure, the envoy contended that he was unable to meet any high-ranking officials of ministires dealing with human rights issues despite the realization that he visited the nation at the invitation of the government and repeated requests in advance for interviews.”
According to the Korea Times, “assessing the degree of freedom of expression here, he concluded that the right to freedom of opinion and expression has markedly diminished over the last two years under the Lee Myung-bak administration.”
La Rue said, “I am concerned that in the last two years, there has been a shrinking space for freedom of expression in Korea, primarily due to new and more restrictive interpretations and application of existing laws.”
The government bodies refusing to cooperate with Mr. La Rue were: the Ministries of Culture, sports and Tourism, Public Administration and Security, foreign Affairs and Trade, National Defense and the National Human Rights Commission.
To read the entire article from the Korea Times, link here:
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