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Responding to the joint declaration following talks between the leaders of North and South Korea at Panmunjeom, Amnesty International’s East Asia Researcher Arnold Fang said: 

“The declaration should be viewed with cautious optimism, but the near-total absence of human rights from today’s agenda was a missed opportunity.”

“These are unprecedented talks but governments must not shy away from raising the dire human rights situation in North Korea directly with Kim Jong-un and his government. It is imperative that human rights are not sidelined in any future talks, as their protection is intrinsically linked to peace and security.” 

“The two Koreas should now take concrete steps to address the violations that were a direct result of the war. Families have been torn apart and both governments must work together to allow regular contact between family members, especially those who were involuntarily separated.” 

“Leaders on both sides should no longer use national security as an excuse to arbitrarily restrict the exercise of human rights, most importantly the rights to freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of thought and freedom of movement. The expression of hope for free movement of people between the two Koreas is welcomed, but this must now be put into action.”