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U.N. committee condemns North Korea human rights abuses

By Elizabeth Shim
U.N. committee condemns North Korea human rights abuses
The United Nations General Assembly’s human rights committee adopted a resolution condemning the North Korean leadership for rights abuses on Tuesday, a move that practically guarantees approval at the General Assembly in December. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- A United Nations General Assembly committee adopted a resolution that condemns North Korea's human rights violations.

The General Assembly's human rights committee approved the resolution Tuesday for the 12th consecutive year, this time including language that clarifies the need to punish Kim Jong Un and refer the state to the International Criminal Court, Yonhap reported.

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According to the statement, the North Korean leadership is the ultimate agent responsible for the violation of human rights in the country, which includes but is not limited to rape, summary executions and restrictions on the practice of religion.

The resolution put forward by Japan and the European Union also expressed serious concern regarding Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development in spite of a critical human rights situation. Representatives of Slovakia and Japan stated resources are being diverted from the basic needs of North Koreans because of the weapons, and the regime is ignoring the suffering of the people in the aftermath of a flood in August and September, Radio Free Asia reported.

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North Korea claims its human rights record is pristine and refuses to accept international meddling in its domestic affairs.

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North Korea stayed out of the voting process on Tuesday and a group of Pyongyang diplomats reportedly walked out during the meeting and held a separate press conference.

The officials, including Counselor Ri Song Chol and Deputy Ambassador Kim In Ryong, said the resolution had nothing to do with protecting human rights in North Korea and the blame was on the United States for its hostile policy against Pyongyang.

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The North Korean diplomats said instead human rights are being violated in South Korea and the United States.

Kim Yong Ho, a North Korean foreign ministry official in charge of human rights, also said Pyongyang doesn't care who becomes the president of the United States.

"Although it is not my place to say, we do not care who becomes president," Kim told reporters in New York. "The main issue is whether or not the United States has the political will to withdraw from its hostile policy against North Korea."

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Kim also said U.N. Special Rapporteur on North Korea human rights Tomás Ojea Quintana is banned indefinitely from the country.

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