U.S. envoy for N. Korean human rights to visit S. Korea this week

SEOUL, The U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights will visit South Korea this week to meet with Seoul officials and attend events marking the 10th anniversary of the release of a landmark U.N. report on the North's rights abuses. Julie Turner is scheduled to arrive in Seoul on Wednesday, following a trip to Japan, according to diplomatic sources familiar with the matter. The U.S. State Department said earlier Turner would make the two-nation visit from Monday through Feb. 22. "We expect that her visit will serve as a chance to send out a strong message from South Korea and the United States about our commitment to raising awareness of and promoting the North's human rights situations," foreign ministry spokesperson Lim Soo-suk said in a briefing. While in Seoul, Turner is expected to attend an event hosted by the U.N. human rights office in Seoul to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the release of the 2014 U.N. Commission of Inquiry (COI) report on the North's human rights violations. The repor t accused North Korean officials of "systematic, widespread and gross" human rights violations. The COI report is considered the first document produced by the U.N. that addressed in depth the issues related to North Korean human rights violations. She also plans to visit entities providing support and education to recently arrived North Korean defectors, according to the State Department. Turner last visited South Korea in October last year soon after she took up her post. Source: Yonhap News Agency