UN committee adopts North rights resolution

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UN committee adopts North rights resolution

A United Nations committee on Thursday adopted a resolution calling for accountability for gross human rights violations in North Korea.

The UN Third Committee, which oversees humanitarian issues, passed the document by consensus without a vote for the 15th consecutive year.

It is expected to pass the UN General Assembly next month.

The Assembly “condemns the longstanding and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights in and by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, including those that may amount to crimes against humanity,” according to the text drafted by European Union member states.

It also “encourages” the UN Security Council to “take appropriate action to ensure accountability,” including by considering referring the North Korean situation to the International Criminal Court and by considering further sanctions to target “those who appear to be most responsible for human rights violations,” an apparent reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

This year’s resolution largely contains the same language as those of previous years. Action by the UN Security Council has been recommended since 2014.

North Korea bristles at accusations of human rights violations, viewing them as a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime.

Speaking to the committee, North Korean Ambassador to the UN Kim Song slammed the resolution as having nothing to do with the true protection of human rights and claimed the alleged abuses were fabricated by North Koreans who had fled the regime after committing crimes.

He expressed “deep concern” at what he described as an attempt by the EU and other “hostile forces” to promote confrontation on the UN stage and singled out Japan, which contributed to the resolution, for having committed crimes against humanity during its 1910-45 occupation of the Korean Peninsula.

Japan, he said, has still not resolved the issue of 1.4 million forced laborers and 200,000 sex slaves mobilized for Japanese troops.

“It is based on comprehensive contemplation on the current circumstances regarding the peace process on the Korean Peninsula and the fact that all efforts should be made to focus on making substantive progress at an early date for the hard-won dialogue process,” Seoul’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday.

In a departure from previous years, South Korea did not co-propose the resolution.

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