The United Nations on Monday passed a resolution condemning North Korea’s human rights record, during a plenary session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The resolution was passed without a vote and marks the 14th consecutive year the UN has approved a resolution calling attention to human rights violations in the DPRK.
As before, the document expressed the UN member states’ deep concern “at the grave human rights situation, the pervasive culture of impunity and the lack of accountability for human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
The UN document was first approved by the UN Third Committee in November and included additions that noted the continuing diplomatic detente and positive momentum on the Korean peninsula.
The resolution welcomes “the ongoing diplomatic efforts, and noting the importance of dialogue and engagements for the improvement of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the country.”
The UN document also draws from the 2014 Commission of Inquiry (COI) report which was tasked with investigating the “systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in the State, with a view to ensuring full accountability, in particular, for violations that may amount to crimes against humanity.”
During Monday’s session, North Korean representatives took aim at the resolution and Japan’s approval of the document, who according to Yonhap, accused Tokyo of committing “A-class crimes against humanity.”
“(Japan) is talking about human rights issue in the DPRK instead of liquidation of its dirty human rights record and official apology and compensation to victims,” North Korean Ambassador to the UN Kim Song said.
North Korea is typically sensitive over criticism of its human rights record, with a DPRK-based think tank on Monday issuing a statement saying that recent U.S. human rights sanctions could “block the path to denuclearization”.
The threat was a probable reaction to recent sanctions from Washington which targeted three high ranking North Korean officials for ongoing human rights abuses.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated officials working in North Korea’s Organization and Guidance Department (OGD), the Ministry of State Security (MSS) and the Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD).
“These sanctions demonstrate the United States’ ongoing support for freedom of expression, and opposition to endemic censorship and human rights abuses,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin was quoted as saying in an accompanying press release.
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Featured Image: United Nations at 70: What R U Doing for Peace? by john.gillespie on 2015-09-17 15:07:20