S.Korea Keeps Hands off N.Korea Rights Resolution

  • By Cho Yi-jun

    March 24, 2021 11:23

    South Korea has backed out of co-sponsoring a UN resolution condemning North Korea's human rights violations for the third year in a row.

    The U.S. returned to the UN Human Rights Council for the first time since the erratic reign of former President Donald Trump to co-sponsor the resolution. The decisions underscore a widening rift between the U.S. and South Korea on the issue of North Korea's human rights track record.


    The UNHRC adopted the resolution at its headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday. As usual it was drafted by the EU, which was backed by around 40 countries including Japan. South Korea had been among the co-sponsors until 2018 but then stopped for fear of agitating the increasingly hostile North Korean regime.

    Trump effectively boycotted the UNHRC from 2019, but the Biden administration has returned to the fold, particularly to put pressure on China and Russia.

    The resolution condemns institutional and widespread human rights abuses in North Korea and for the first time expresses concern over the human rights of former South Korean prisoners of war that North Korea refuses to send back and their families in the South as well as other abduction victims and their families in Japan and the U.S.

    "These crimes against humanity related to the international abductions could potentially be subjected to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court," it warned.

    It also condemns the murder of a South Korean fisheries official who was shot and killed by North Korean soldiers while adrift on the West Sea. It said North Korea "must hold those responsible to account, compensate the family of the official and review state policy on dealing with alleged trespassers." 

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