US President Biden nominates Julie Turner as North Korea human rights envoy

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US President Joe Biden has nominated Julie Turner as special envoy for human rights in North Korea on 24 January. 

An overview of the news

  • The move to fill the post, which has been vacant since 2017, comes amid debate over human rights issues as well as efforts to counter Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

  • Julie Turner is currently the director for East Asia and the Pacific in the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

  • Turner has served in the office for East Asia and the Pacific for more than 16 years, primarily focusing on initiatives related to the promotion of human rights in North Korea.

  • The post of special envoy had become controversial in South Korea as the previous administration tried to bring North Korea to the negotiating table.

  • Some activists said that human rights had been sidelined due to national security priorities.

  • North Korea has repeatedly denied allegations of human rights abuses and blamed the sanctions for the dire humanitarian situation.

  • A landmark 2014 United Nations report on North Korean human rights concluded that North Korean security chief and leader Kim Jong Un should face justice for Nazi-style atrocities.

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