Stronger UN resolution on NK human rights sought

By: Yi Whan-woo

South Korea is working on a stronger U.N. resolution against North Korea for its state-perpetrated human rights violations, officials said Wednesday.

They said the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom have joined with South Korea to introduce a new resolution in line with the 2014 version. The U.N. has been adopting resolutions about Pyongyang’s dire human rights records for consecutive years since 2005.

Approved by the U.N. General Assembly in December, last year’s version asked the U.N. Security Council to refer Pyongyang’s leadership to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, the Netherlands, for committing crimes against humanity.

“Discussions are underway among South Korea and several other countries although we have not come up with details in addition to what was included in the 2014 resolution,” a foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

North Korea has been under growing international pressure to improve its dire human rights conditions, including executions in public as well as beatings, torture and starvation at its secret gulags.

In its report released in February, the U.N. Commission of Inquiry (COI) on North Korea accused the tyrannical state of running political prison camps where up to 120,000 people are thought to be detained.

The 2014 resolution was based on the COI report. The U.N. General Assembly endorsed it on Dec. 18 after the European Union and Japan circulated its draft version and some 60 countries jointly submitted it for approval.

On Dec. 22, the UNSC decided to add issues related to Pyongyang’s human rights on its agenda.

In June, the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights opened a field office in Seoul to exclusive look into North Korea’s human rights records.

Pyongyang has claimed Washington is behind the U.N.’s pressure against its leadership.