Accessibility links

Breaking News

UN Official Urges Human Rights Probe of North Korea

A North Korean female soldier stands watch along the bank of the Yalu River, the China-North Korea border river, near North Korea's town of Sinuiju, 25 Nov 2010
A report by a special U.N. investigator is calling for the United Nations to open an inquiry into North Korea for possible crimes against humanity.

In his report Tuesday, U.N. special rapporteur Marzuki Darusman wants the Human Rights Council to authorize a probe into North Korea's "grave, widespread and systematic" human rights violations.

He said an inquiry by the Geneva-based body should examine the responsibility of government and individuals in alleged abuses.

North Korea denounced the report before it was made public.

Pyongyang's U.N. ambassador in Geneva, So Se Pyong, said Darusman is a politically motivated official who is a puppet trying to represent the "ill-minded purposes" of influential countries, such as the U.S., Japan and European Union member states.

Last month, U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay demanded an international probe into North Korea's human rights record, calling it "deplorable." She said the world's focus on the country's nuclear program and rocket launches should not overshadow the North's human rights situation.

North Korea maintains a network of political prison camps, believed to contain more than 200,000 people. Defectors say the camps are marked by rampant violations, including rapes, torture, executions and slave labor.