News / Asia

UN Investigator Calls On N. Korea to Improve Human Rights

Jason Strother

The United Nations’ human rights investigator for North Korea is speaking out about the treatment of prisoners in the country, days after the General Assembly’s human rights committee adopted a resolution condemning the nation for its human rights policies.

A record number of nations voted in favor of a non-binding resolution condemning North Korea’s human rights record on Monday. Speaking Friday in Seoul, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on North Korean Human Rights, Marzuki Darusman, says this indicates the international community’s growing concern with the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK, the North’s official name.

Darusman repeated the resolution’s requests.

“I urge the government of the DPRK to overhaul the prison system, the criminal justice system and related detention policies in camps that give rise to a plethora of abuses, including torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” said Darusman.

Pyongyang has dismissed the new resolution as a smear campaign orchestrated by the United States.

Human rights groups say hundreds of thousands of North Koreans languish in labor camps.

The North has repeatedly rejected U.N. requests to send Darusman and his predecessor there to verify conditions.

During his visit to South Korea, Darusman spoke with government officials, human rights campaigners and North Korean refugees. His findings will appear in a report to the U.N. General Assembly next march.

The special rapporteur also called for both Koreas to set political differences aside in order to resume stalled reunions of famililes separated since the Korean War. And Darusman urged the international community to send humanitarian assistance to the North to help offset a worsening food shortage.

Daursman commended South Korea for its North Korean refugee resettlement program. There are currently more than 22,000 defectors living in the South. But Darusman noted that many more escapees face forcible repatriation, called refoulement, which he says is another human rights violation.  

“I call on other neighboring countries to protect and treat all people fleeing the DPRK humanely and respectful of non-refoulement,” said Darusman.

Human rights activists and North Korean defectors say China is the greatest violator of the U.N. convention on the treatment of refugees.

Darusman was careful not to point the finger at Beijing during his speech, but says he has been in contact with Chinese officials and hopes to engage them in talks about the human rights of North Korean escapees.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid