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UN Security Council Expected to Discuss Pyongyang's Rights Record

FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un organizes a combined joint drill of the units under KPA Combined Units 572 and 630 in Pyongyang.

Ten members of the United Nations Security Council want to add North Korea's human rights record to the council's agenda.

The nations, which include the United States, United Kingdom and South Korea, asked for a meeting on the issue this month. Such a meeting could include a push to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

China, North Korea's main ally, and Russia did not sign the letter. They are likely to veto any effort to take it to the ICC.

A U.N. commission last February detailed decades of human rights abuses in North Korea, an impoverished, reclusive communist state. Among the abuses are executions, forced labor and torture. North Korea's government denies the allegations and says it protects the rights of its citizens. It says the accusations are part of a plot by the United States to bring down its government.

Last month, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution condemning Pyongyang's rights record. In response, the North Korean government threatened to test another nuclear weapon.

North Korea has been developing nuclear weapons for more than a decade, despite past pledges to give up its nuclear program. Pyongyang says it needs the weapons to protect itself from the United States.

Some information for this report comes from AFP and Reuters.

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