News / Asia

South Korean Official: UN to Probe North's Violations

Mike Richman
A South Korean official said the United Nations Human Rights Council is likely to adopt a resolution this week to establish a commission to investigate rights violations in North Korea.

The official, who requested anonymity, said the Geneva-based council will vote on a resolution on Thursday to create the independent commission.

Human rights advocacy groups have long called for international efforts to stop North Korean rights abuses, thought to be among the worst in the world.

Human rights "nightmare"

A Northeast Asia analyst at the U.S.-based Brookings Institution said that creation of the commission will reflect "greater courage" by the U.N. Human Rights Council to cite violations that are going unnoticed. Richard Bush said the commission will learn what the U.S. government in its annual human rights report and NGOs in the U.S. and South Korea have discovered - that North Korea is a "human rights nightmare.”

"I’m sure that North Korea will not be happy with the international scrutiny," Bush said. "But I think it’s very important to expose what a tragic situation is occurring there and has occurred for a long, long time.”

According to Bush, frequent rights abuses in North Korea are a denial of political rights and civil rights. He said the victims often fall into social categories defined by political loyalty and behavior. If someone does something bad, he said, both the person and that person's family will be punished.

Prison camps

"Those that are in the good social categories have preferential access to wealth, status and power," Bush said. "Those who are in the lowest ones spend their lives in a prison camp or almost as badly.”

A U.N.-appointed human rights authority, Marzuki Darusman, recently recommended an inquiry into violations in North Korea.

In a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Darusman said a formal probe will help pressure Pyongyang to improve conditions. The report described "systematic and widespread" abuses, including murder, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, political and religious persecution, and enforced disappearances.

Darusman also said conditions in North Korea have worsened since Kim Jong Un took power following the death in 2011 of his father, Kim Jong Il.

North Korea's delegate to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Choi Seokyoung, denied the allegations in Darusman's report. He said the report was part of a Western-led conspiracy against his government.

Support for a U.N. inquiry has been mounting, partly because Russia and China - traditional North Korean allies - have rotated out of the human rights council. The United States and Japan have voiced support for an international inquiry.

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Andrew from: NYC
March 20, 2013 11:04 AM
First Iraq was the enemy and Sadam was the evil man and now it seems like its going to be North Korea

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs