U.N. resolution calls for inter-Korean family reunions

By Jennie Oh  |  Updated Dec. 19, 2017 at 7:47 PM
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SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday adopted a resolution condemning North Korea's human rights abuses for the 13th consecutive year.

The document urges Pyongyang to end the "longstanding and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights," such as torture, public executions, forced labor and rape.

Despite opposition from North Korean delegate Ja Song Nam, and representatives of China and Russia to the United Nations, the document was adopted by consensus without vote, Chosun Ilbo reported.

The resolution, for the first time, highlights the plight of families in South and North Korea divided for 67 years since the beginning of the Korean War.

It requests assistance for family members to confirm their status, exchange letters and arrange meetings between them.

South Korea has been pushing for talks on resuming family reunions which were suspended since late 2015 amid heightened tensions caused by the North's provocations.

However, Pyongyang ignored the invitation for dialogue this year.

The U.N. document also, for the first time, urges the regime to allow foreign detainees access to diplomatic missions and other measures to contact their families. There are three Americans and six South Koreans believed to be held by the North, according to Yonhap.

For the fourth year in a row, the U.N. General Assembly called on the Security Council to refer those responsible for human rights abuses in the North to the International Criminal Court.

The text was jointly produced by the European Union and Japan with the contribution of 61 countries. It was passed by consensus at the Third Committee of the U.N. General Assembly last month.

Topics: North Korea
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