GENEVA, The U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday adopted a resolution criticizing North Korea's "systematic and widespread" human rights violations and calling for accountability efforts to ensure that crimes do not remain unpunished.

During its 40th session held in Geneva, Switzerland, the council passed the resolution by consensus for the 17th consecutive year.

"(The council is) deeply concerned at the systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea that, in many instances, constitute crimes against humanity," the resolution reads. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the North's official name.

"(The council is) concerned that the precarious humanitarian situation in the country is exacerbated by the restrictions imposed by the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on the free and unimpeded access for humanitarian agencies to all populations in need," it added.

The resolution welcomed the ongoing diplomatic efforts with the communist state and noted the importance of dialogue and engagement for the improvement of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the North.

It also noted the "urgency and importance" of the issue involving families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

Seoul's foreign ministry did not publish any commentary on the resolution. It just announced that the resolution was adopted without a vote.

Source: Yonhap news Agency