North defends its rights record, citing CIA report

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North defends its rights record, citing CIA report

After futile attempts to defend its dire human rights record, Pyongyang took a shot at Washington for its “inhuman torture” methods, which were revealed recently in a scathing U.S. Senate report on the interrogation programs of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Pyongyang took advantage of the abuses highlighted in the report to point out the hypocrisy that Washington, via the United Nations Security Council, is attempting to refer North Korea’s leaders to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.

A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman, through the regime’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), urged the UN Security Council on Wednesday to condemn the United States for its own human rights violations. A milestone 500-page Senate report revealed on Tuesday the CIA’s brutal interrogation tactics and detention methods for Al Qaeda from 2002 to 2007 under the George W. Bush administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The unclassified report is on a study, commissioned in 2009, on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program and is one of the most condemnatory indictments of the intelligence organization in decades. The report itself has drawn significant public backlash. The report, approved by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Dec. 13, 2012, is a heavily redacted version of the full 6,700-page study.

It claims that the CIA’s torture methods “regularly resulted in fabricated information” and were at times illegal and ineffective. The North Korean spokesman argued that the human rights issues regarding Pyongyang were “made up” and pointed to Washington’s “double standards” and its “arbitrary nature.”

“The CIA utilizes inhuman torture methods, and white American police officers shoot blacks and kill them, and strangle them to death,” he said, referring to the deaths of African-American men Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner, in New York, at the hands of white police officers.

He added that the Security Council should not “close its eyes to the serious human rights situation in the U.S.”

Pyongyang added that Washington was raising its human rights record at the UN Security Council “as an excuse to militarily invade us.”

The Security Council is expected to put to a vote later this month a resolution condemning Pyongyang’s systematic human rights abuses based on the recommendations of a UN Commission of Inquiry report, which North Korea has desperately tried to block through a rare diplomatic mobilization, releasing its own rosier human rights report and media play.

The resolution is unlikely to pass in the Security Council, unlike in the UN General Assembly, because China is expected to exercise its veto power.

BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]



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