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S. Korea gives press tour of N. Korea defectors center after human rights reforms Updated: 2021-06-24 09:51:21 KST


This is the first home for North Korean defectors when they settle here in the South.
Before they can begin their new lives, the North Korean Defectors Debriefing Center investigates their backgrounds and motives for fleeing the North as a measure to ensure the safety of the South Korean people.
The center has worked to strengthen its human rights protections since 2014 when a North Korean defector was charge with espionage based on false and coerced testimonies.
To the visiting press, the head of the NIS, Park Jie-won, stressed that while it's still the job of the National Intelligence Service to stop espionage, he said the investigation process is now more transparent than ever and respects the defectors' human rights.
In fact, among the 76-hundred defectors the center's processed since 2014, there have been no reported cases of human rights abuses.
The investigation period has been shortened from 180 days to 90 days, though in practice, it takes only five to ten days.
All sessions are recorded on video with the defector's consent.
When defectors arrive at the debriefing center, they're welcomed with new clothes and basic necessities, which the staff there say the defectors are grateful for.
In fact, they often leave handwritten notes addressed to the person they call "the uniform man."
The center looks after refugees of all ages.
There are doctors and dentists as well as an indoor playground for kids, a library and a music room.
Some people in South Korea still have concerns about how the NIS can stop spies coming in with such a short investigation period.
But the NIS chief offered reassurances that the center is addressing all possible risks in a scientific way, utilizing the information and data collected by the NIS.
Over the years, according to the NIS, the center has identified a total of 11 spies.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.
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