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New UN Rights Chief Urges N. Korean Accountability

  • Lee Yeon Cheol

FILE - Jordan's ambassador to the United Nationas, Prince Zeid Raad al-Hussein, speaks to the media during a news conference in New York.

FILE - Jordan's ambassador to the United Nationas, Prince Zeid Raad al-Hussein, speaks to the media during a news conference in New York.

The United Nations’ new High Commissioner for Human Rights has spoken on the situation in North Korea for the first time since taking office late last month.

Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein discussed the country Monday during a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Zeid said he is “deeply impressed” by the work of the Council’s Commission of Inquiry on North Korean human rights.

“I hope the General Assembly and Security Council will give this report their fullest attention, and take steps to ensure accountability for those who have perpetrated crimes against humanity,” said the 50-year-old career diplomat.

In addition to North Korea, Zeid also expressed concerns regarding conflicts in Syria, Iraq, eastern Ukraine and parts of Africa.

North Korea maintained its stance that it rejects the Commission’s findings.

In a letter addressed to the new High Commissioner, North Korea’s ambassador the U.N., So Se Pyong, wrote his country "categorically and resolutely rejects the politicized report of the Commission of Inquiry that is full of fabrications.”

Ambassador So insisted that North Korea regards the Commission as “a tool representing the forces hostile to [Pyongyang].”

Based on the U.N. Resolution 22/13, the Commission investigated systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in the communist country last year.

The COI released its finding in a written report on February 17th, 2014. The report stated, “These crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”

The report elaborated, “Crimes against humanity are ongoing in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea because the policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their heart remain in place.”

Jee Abbey Lee contributed to the report, which was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.

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