December 08, 2014 11:41
The UN Security Council is to put North Korea's human rights violations on its agenda later this month, U.S. human rights envoy Robert King told a forum in Washington on Friday.
"We'll see that the North Korea human rights issue is put on the agenda of the Security Council," King said. "There may be a discussion at the Security Council later this month."
Among the 15 member nations of the Security Council, South Korea, Australia, Chile, France, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Rwanda, the U.K. and the U.S. signed a letter to the council's president seeking to place the issue on its agenda. But Argentina, Chad, China, Nigeria and Russia did not sign.
The council consists of five permanent members and 10 nations rotating as non-permanent members every two years. An issue is placed on the council's agenda if more than nine out of its 15 member nations support it.
The council has held several meetings on North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, but this is the first time that its human rights abuses will be discussed.
A government official here said, "If an issue is placed on the agenda, it is customarily discussed for three years."
Last April, the council was briefed on North Korea's human rights abuses by Michael Kirby, a former Australian High Court judge who led the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea. But the meeting was held behind closed doors.
The council's official meetings, by contrast, are open to the media and will lead to increased international attention on the North's horrific human rights abuses.
The council has the right to refer high-ranking North Korean officials to the International Criminal Court or impose additional sanctions on the North, but China and Russia, which have friendly ties with the North and veto power, oppose the move.
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