December 21, 2016 12:08
The UN General Assembly on Monday adopted a resolution referring North Korea's human rights abuses to the International Criminal Court and urging it to punish those responsible for violating human rights. In a full session at UN headquarters in New York, member states adopted the resolution by consensus, without a vote.
This year's resolution, the 12th, states that the abuses are committed by "institutions under the effective control of the leadership," making clear that Kim is personally responsible.
It cites detention of political prisoners in concentration camps, torture, rape and public executions among the most egregious violations. It also condemns the regime's disregard for the wellbeing of its people, who suffer chronic food shortages, while it concentrates on its weapons programs.
UN member states also express grave concern about the regime's exploitation of workers forced to toil overseas in conditions of near-slavery and demands the immediate release of foreigners kidnapped by the regime. This is the first time that a North Korea human rights resolution has mentioned overseas workers.
Like last year, the resolution was drafted by the EU and Japan and backed by about 70 member states.
The North was furious. Even before its adoption, Ri Song-chol of the North Korean mission to the UN called it a "product of political hostility" aimed at isolating and overthrowing the North Korean regime. "It is created by the U.S.' initiative and is full of lies," Ri claimed.
The North Korean delegation then walked out of the debate.
The resolution is non-binding and largely symbolic but establishes a firm basis for international criticism of the regime.
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