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Pressure on North Korea human rights violations is working, U.S. official says

In addition to pressure, humanitarian aid to North Korea should be provided in a way that can be monitored by outside observers, ambassador Robert King said.

By Elizabeth Shim
Pressure on North Korea human rights violations is working, U.S. official says
Chinese workers erect a new perimeter fence around North Korea's embassy in Beijing on Wednesday. A U.S. envoy said pressure on North Korea must continue to be applied in order to address the country's human rights violations. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues said pressure must continue to be placed on North Korea for human rights violations.

Speaking at the Seoul Human Rights conference on Wednesday, ambassador Robert King said, "What we've got to do in terms of dealing with the problems of human rights in North Korea is to look at this as a long, tough fight. I think we need continued pressure."

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King said the United States and others have pressured North Korea in various ways, and so far, the strategy has been working. Yonhap reported the U.S. official said Pyongyang is feeling the heat from the international community and a vote is to take place at the United Nations General Assembly in December on a North Korea human rights resolution.

Placing pressure on North Korea to change, however, is just one of many tasks for concerned governments, King said. Humanitarian aid should be provided in a way that can be monitored by outside observers, and in a way that assistance is properly channeled to the most vulnerable segment of the North Korean population.

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King's remarks come at a time when the U.N. General Assembly's Third Committee is expected to address the North Korea human rights resolution.

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Voice of America reported Wednesday more members of the General Assembly are supporting the resolution, since debates on Pyongyang's rights violations began to be discussed in 2005.

Ten years ago, 84 countries said they were in favor of passing a North Korea human rights resolution, 22 were opposed and 62 abstained. By 2010, countries that were in favor of the resolution rose to 100, and 112 in 2011.

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Sylvie Lucas, Luxembourg's ambassador to the United Nations, said during the most recent meeting of the Third Committee that there is a largely shared concern regarding "the serious and systematic human rights violations" in North Korea.

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