UN Targets North Korea Rights Violations 


It is the first time the council will hold a public session on the rights issue in the North Korea since 2017 and the US envoy said it is “long overdue.”…reports Asian Lite News

The United States has requested a public UN Security Council meeting on August 17 to review North Korea’s human rights record and how it relates to global peace and security, Voice of America (VOA) reported.

North Korea launched numerous intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as a large number of ballistic missiles this year, according to Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

North Korea frequently claims that the joint military drills between the United States and South Korea are to blame for the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula and claims that its missile programme is designed to intimidate and “strike fear” into its adversaries, VOA reported.

“We know the government’s human rights abuses and violations facilitate the advancement of its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles program,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters in a joint interaction with the ambassadors of South Korea, Japan and Albania.

“The Security Council must address the horrors, the abuses and the crimes being perpetrated daily by the Kim regime against its own citizens, and people from other member states, including Japan and the Republic of Korea,” the US envoy said about the systemic human rights abuses, VOA reported.

The United States holds the 15-nation Security Council’s rotating presidency this month and Thomas-Greenfield has said that human rights would be the core theme.

It is the first time the council will hold a public session on the rights issue in the North Korea since 2017 and the US envoy said it is “long overdue.”

Russia and China often argue that the Security Council is not the correct UN venue to discuss human rights issues. But a senior US official who briefed reporters Thursday said none of the other forums focuses on the links between North Korea’s WMD (Weapon of mass destruction) and ballistic missile advancements, which is why the Security Council must be briefed on the issue, VOA reported.

Moscow and Beijing could call for a procedural vote in a bid to block the meeting. Nine of the 15 council members would then have to vote in favour of holding it for the meeting to happen. The senior US official said Washington is “in a comfortable place” in terms of having sufficient council support.

The council will be briefed by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk and the UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in North Korea Elizabeth Salmón, as well as a civil society representative, VOA reported.

“Protecting people around the world is an integral part of the UN Charter and an important responsibility of the Security Council,” the ambassador said.

“And that means holding the DPRK regime accountable for its human rights abuses and violations,” the ambassador added.

DPRK is the abbreviation for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The senior US official said that Pyongyang’s use of forced labour to fund its illicit weapons programs would also be highlighted at the session.

The Kim government’s human rights abuses are well known. The UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) and other independent human rights experts have documented testimony from hundreds of defectors.

In 2014, the COI found that North Korea’s violations had risen to the level of crimes against humanity. Among them, the report found, “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”

According to VOA, the last time the council discussed North Korea’s human rights was at an informal, “Arria” style meeting in March. China objected to it, saying it was not constructive and would not ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and blocked the consensus necessary to broadcast it on the United Nations website. (ANI)

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