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UN Condemns North Korean Human Rights Situation

FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The U.N. General Assembly has passed a resolution urging North Korea be referred to the International Criminal court for its human rights situation.

The non-binding resolution passed Thursday urges the Security Council to refer Pyongyang to the ICC for crimes against humanity. It passed with 116 votes in favor, 20 against, and 53 abstentions.

The Security Council on Monday will discuss North Korean human rights. But it is not likely to refer the North to the ICC, since China - North Korea's main ally - will likely veto such a move.

Forcing a Security Council vote would, however, further highlight alleged North Korean abuses and place heavy political pressure on Beijing.

North Korea's deputy U.N. ambassador, An Myong Hun, on Thursday said Pyongyang rejects the resolution, which he called a "product of a political plot and confrontation."

The resolution is based on a February 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.

North Korea's government denies the allegations. It says the accusations are part of a plot by the United States to bring down its government.

China and Russia have argued the Security Council is not an appropriate forum to discuss human rights, saying such matters should instead be taken up by the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The General Assembly on Thursday also passed resolutions criticizing the rights situations of Iran and Syria.