The Korea Herald


S. Korea expresses deep concern over bloodshed in Libya, urges N.Korea to improve human rights

By 양승진

Published : March 1, 2011 - 10:51

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 South Korea expressed deep concern over the bloodshed in Libya and urged North Korea to improve its human rights conditions during a U.N. human rights meeting held in Geneva on Monday, the foreign ministry said.

   Second Vice Foreign Minister Min Dong-seok made the appeal during a keynote speech at a high-level segment meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council that opened in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday for a three-day run, the ministry said in a statement.

   South Korea "expresses its deep concern at the loss of human lives and the serious violation of human rights in Libya," Min said at the meeting, according to the text of his speech provided by the ministry.

   Seoul welcomes recent resolutions that the council adopted on the situation in Libya and is ready to fully cooperate with their implementations, Min said. One of the resolutions, adopted on Feb.

25, urged the Libyan government to immediately release all arbitrarily detained persons and stop attacks against civilians.

   Hundreds of people are believed to have been killed and thousands wounded in weeks of bloody clashes in the North African nation between anti-government protesters and government troops loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi.

   On Monday, South Korea's foreign ministry said that the country will "faithfully carry out" a U.N. Security Council resolution on Libya. The resolution, which was unanimously adopted Saturday, calls for freezing the foreign assets of Gadhafi and his family members. The sanctions also included an arms embargo and a travel ban on the leader and some of his close aides.

   On North Korea, Min said that South Korea "shares the deep concern of the international community over the serious human rights situation" in the communist nation, calling on the council to pay "continued attention" to the situation.

   "My government calls up on the DPRK to render its cooperation to the special rapporteur and to take the necessary measures to improve its human rights conditions in cooperation with the international community," the vice minister said during the speech.

   Pyongyang has never cooperated with the U.N. special rapporteur tasked with looking into the human rights situation in the North.

The totalitarian regime claims there are no human rights violations in the country and that criticism of its human rights conditions is a U.S.-led plot to overthrow the country.

   North Korea has long been labeled one of the worst human rights violators in the world. The communist regime of leader Kim Jong-il does not tolerate dissent, holds hundreds of thousands of people in political prison camps across the nation and keeps a tight control over outside information.

(Yonhap News)