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N. Korea Calls on UN to Focus on US Rights Abuses

North Korea
North Korea

North Korea has requested the U.N. Security Council not probe alleged human rights violations by Pyongyang, but instead investigate what it called "brutal" and "medieval" abuses by the U.S.

In a letter late Monday, North Korean U.N. Ambassador Ja Song Nam said rights accusations against the North are "fabricated" and "not at all relevant" to regional or international peace and security.

On the contrary, he said "CIA torture crimes" need to be addressed urgently by the Security Council in order to prevent what he called a "destabilizing impact" on international peace.

Ja was referring to a U.S. Senate report released last week that detailed brutal interrogation methods used by the CIA in the days after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S.

Pyongyang, which is considered one of the world's worst human rights abusers, has jumped on the report to argue that the U.S. is not qualified to make judgments about other countries' rights situations.

The Security Council on Monday voted to place the North Korean human rights situation on its agenda. Official say the issue will likely be discussed next Monday or Tuesday.

A General Assembly committee last month recommended the Security Council refer Pyongyang to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.

The recommendation followed a U.N. Commission of Inquiry that detailed decades of systematic executions, torture, rape, and mass starvation in the North. It said the abuses were "unparalleled" in the modern world.

China, North Korea's main international ally, has repeatedly hinted that it will veto any ICC referral, arguing the Security Council is not an appropriate forum to discuss human rights.

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