[JURIST] The South Korean government Tuesday established a committee of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) [official website] to investigate alleged human rights abuses in North Korea. The formation of the new committee is expected to become a source of tension between the two countries. The human rights situation in North Korea has recently come under increased international scrutiny, with a draft UN General Assembly resolution condemning North Korea's human rights practices [JURIST report] gaining support from South Korea, Japan, and the European Union. Since assuming office in February 2008, South Korean president Lee Myung Bak [BBC profile] has taken a tougher line on North-South relations than his predecessors, leading to more confrontations with the North Korean government. Reuters has more.
Last month, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in North Korea called on [UN News Centre report; JURIST report] the country to take urgent action to improve its rights record. In March, the NHRCK announced an official investigation [JURIST report] into alleged human rights violations by North Korea. North Korea is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [text] and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Political Rights [text], among other international treaties.