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UN Condemns North Korea’s Human Rights Violations


North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un visits a Korean People's Army fishery station in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, in Pyongyang, Nov. 19, 2014.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un visits a Korean People's Army fishery station in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, in Pyongyang, Nov. 19, 2014.

The U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday condemned North Korea for its “gross human rights violations.”

For the twelfth year in a row, the U.N.’s human rights body in Geneva adopted a resolution against the communist country for its human rights record.

The resolution pushed by the European Union and Japan decried North Korea’s “longstanding and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations” and “other human rights abuses committed” in the country.

The resolution accused Pyongyang of committing “systematic abduction” of foreign nationals and called on the country to resolve the issue “in a transparent manner.”

In a report last year, the panel tasked with investigating North Korean human rights, the U.N. Commission of Inquiry, said it is estimated that more than 200,000 foreign nationals have been abducted by the North.

The resolution welcomed steps taken by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to establish a field office in Seoul to monitor human rights in North Korea.

Friday’s resolution also extended the mandate of the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, Marzuki Darusman, for another year.

The U.S. welcomed the council’s move.

“We welcome the passage of the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution condemning the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for one year, and welcoming the upcoming establishment of an Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) office in Seoul,” a State Department official said.

Pyongyang rejected the resolution, calling it a “political plot.” Ri Hung Sik, a North Korean foreign ministry official, warned that the measure will turn his country a “venue for politicization.”

The latest resolution is part of the U.N.’s efforts to hold North Korea accountable for its human rights violations. Last December, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for the U.N. Security Council to consider referring the North Korean human rights issue to the International Criminal Court.

Yeon Cheol Lee contributed to this report.

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    Jee Abbey Lee

    Jee Abbey Lee is a veteran broadcast journalist with more than 10 years of experience in TV, radio, and the web. She serves as Voice of America's social media correspondent and is an expert of millennial lifestyle. 

    Lee received her graduate degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to joining VOA, she worked at the Seoul bureau of CNN Travel and served as the chief Bank of Korea correspondent for Arirang TV. 

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