UN urges action over N Korea abuse

March 30, 2014 - 6:34:59 am

GENEVA:  The United Nation’s top rights body on Friday called on the Security Council to act against officials responsible for a litany of crimes against humanity in North Korea.

The 47-member UN Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted a resolution condemning the “ongoing systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations” in the isolated Asian nation.

The resolution -- which passed with 30 votes in favour, six opposed and 11 abstentions -- urged the Security Council to make sure “those responsible for human rights violations, including those that may amount to crimes against humanity, are held to account.”

It also extended a probe into human rights violations in the country by the UN’s special rapporteur for another year.

North Korea, which is not a member of the rights council, slammed the resolution and its backers. Representative Se Pyong So described the text as “a mockery of the Human Rights Council as well as an insult to the international community.”

Amid repeated objections from US representative Paula Schriefer, So said the resolution was “a product of confrontation and plots,” charging that “the United States and other hostile forces” were merely trying to “cover up their bloody history.”

In a statement issued later, US State Department Deputy Spokesman Marie Harf said the vote displayed the consensus that “North Korea’s leadership must be held accountable for its systematic and widespread violations of human rights. “

North Korea’s neighbour and long-time ally China came to Pyongyang’s defence, insisting the searing 400-page report used as a basis for the resolution drew conclusions that “do not tally with the facts.” 

The EU, however, hailed the report by the special Commission of Inquiry set up a year ago.                       AFP