UN approves resolution on North Korea human rights

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UN approves resolution on North Korea human rights

UNITED NATIONS - The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution Monday denouncing widespread human rights violations in North Korea ranging from public executions to severe restrictions on freedom of expression, religion and assembly.

The 193-member world body scheduled the vote before the announcement late Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had died.

The nonbinding resolution strongly urges the government in Pyongyang to immediately put an end to the “systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights.”

It expresses serious concern at North Korea’s use of public executions, arbitrary detentions and the death penalty for political and religious reasons. It accuses the North of violating the economic, social and cultural rights of its people and putting severe restrictions on many freedoms, including the right to travel inside and outside the country and the right to privacy.

The resolution was approved by a vote of 123-16 with 51 abstentions - stronger support than last month’s vote in the assembly’s human rights committee, which approved the draft resolution by a vote of 112-16 with 55 abstentions.

North Korea “categorically” rejected the resolution, calling it a politically motivated document based on “fabrications” and designed to increase international pressure on the country. The unidentified North Korean diplomat who spoke made no mention of Kim Jong-il, who died of a heart attack Saturday at the age of 69.

The resolution also expresses regret at North Korea’s failure to implement UN recommendations after the country allowed the UN Human Rights Council to review its rights record in March 2010. AP
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