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UN condemns North Korea’s rights abuses in resolution

The UN General Assembly. (AP-Yonhap)
The UN General Assembly. (AP-Yonhap)
The UN General Assembly on Wednesday strongly condemned North Korea’s “systematic, widespread and gross violations” of human rights in a resolution. The North slammed it as being politicized.

In the resolution adopted by consensus, the assembly expressed concern over the “absence of due process and the rule of law, arbitrary executions and detention, torture and sexual and gender-based violence,” among other rights violations by Pyongyang.

The 193-member world body has seen the North Korea resolution passed since 2005, when it was first introduced. This year marked the seventh time the world body adopted the resolution by consensus.

A month earlier, the European Union floated the North Korea resolution at the assembly’s Third Committee before putting it to a vote in the General Assembly. The Third Committee deals with human rights.

“The Third Committee adopted the draft resolution without a vote. And I take it that the assembly wishes to do the same. It is so decided,” said Volkan Bozkir of Turkey, president of the General Assembly.

South Korea, which co-sponsored the resolution from 2008 to 2018, again chose not to co-sponsor the resolution this year. Seoul is seen as trying not to provoke Pyongyang amid efforts to revive stalled inter-Korean exchanges.

North Korea’s UN ambassador, Kim Song, lashed out at the resolution, saying, “All material contained in draft resolution are most despicably fabricated information by riffraff defectors.” He described those in favor of the resolution as hostile forces seeking a regime change in Pyongyang.

China, North Korea’s biggest ally, and several countries sympathetic to the North, like Iran, accused the assembly of double standards to achieve political ends. They believe the UN employs resolutions on rights abuses to unfairly sanction their governments.

By Choi Si-young (