U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the new U.S. human rights envoy for North Korea will have the opportunity to highlight the communist country's pressing rights issues.

Ms. Rice said envoy Jay Lefkowitz will also be able to find out what the United States can do with the rest of the world to improve humanitarian conditions and the rights situation in North Korea.

Ms. Rice made the comments in Washington before meeting with the U.S. envoy.

Also Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw met in London with a former North Korean labor camp prisoner and accused Pyongyang of "despicable" human rights abuses.

Mr. Straw said former prisoner Kang Cheol Hwan's eyewitness accounts of forced labor, public executions, and near-starvation rations show what he called the "outrages" committed by the regime.

Reaction from Pyongyang was not immediately available.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.