The U.S. will support an international action at next month’s U.N. Human Rights Council to initiate an inquiry into human rights issues in North Korea, U.S. officials said Wednesday. Japan has also made known that it will support an inquiry for consideration by the Geneva-based council, as European diplomats have been discussing such a move.
Human rights activists complain that North Korea’s record receives very little international attention compared to its nuclear and missile programs. Washington has recently urged the U.N. Security Council to tighten sanctions on North Korea after it conducted Tuesday its third nuclear test in defiance of previous resolutions.
The world body’s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, called last month for an international inquiry into “serious crimes” in North Korea. She called it one of the worst human rights situations in the world, and unfortunately the least reported. The Human Rights Council and the U.N. General Assembly have already condemned North Korea’s treatment of its people, but Pillay said a stronger action was needed.
She revealed that as many as 200,000 people were being held in North Korean political prison camps, and they suffer torture, rape and slave labor. “The rights issues should be mentioned every time North Korea is discussed,” said John Sifton, advocacy director for Human Rights Watch in Asia. “The decades of abuses and famine entail human suffering and risk at levels that are on par with the risk and suffering posed by the nuclear program.”
[via Argus Press]
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