U.N. likely to form commission to investigate rights abuses in N.K.
Published : 2013-02-25 19:58
Updated : 2013-02-25 19:58
The United Nations has been in consultations with member states to adopt a resolution that would set up its first commission of inquiry into widespread human rights violations in North Korea, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said Monday.
The resolution is one of several that have been the subject of debate during the ongoing 22nd session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, which will last until March 22.
Ahead of the U.N. council’s session in Geneva, the European Union and Japan agreed last week to ask the council to form an independent “inquiry mechanism” on human rights abuses in North Korea, a Seoul government source told Yonhap News Agency.
“The European Union is exchanging views with other U.N. member states on the formation and missions with regard to the proposed inquiry mechanism on human rights in North Korea,” the source said.
The inquiry mechanism resolution would be adopted if half of the 47-member council approves it, and another Seoul government source said prospects for a passage are high. South Korea is one of the council members.
“The possibility of passage is very high because a draft resolution for the inquiry mechanism is being written by the European Union with its passage in mind amid the international community’s growing concerns over human rights issues in North Korea,” the second source said.
Human rights advocacy groups have long called for international efforts to stop genocide and crimes against humanity which they claim are being systematically carried out by North Korean authorities.
Activists said North Korea was holding thousands of political prisoners in at least six facilities where they face extrajudicial executions, torture and forced labor.
The communist country has been accused of human rights abuses for decades, ranging from holding hundreds of thousands of political prisoners to torture and public executions. Pyongyang has flatly denied the accusations, calling them a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime.
The U.N. council’s move comes as tensions on the Korean Peninsula are heightened after the North’s Feb. 12 nuclear test.
South Korea, the U.S. and others are pushing for more sanctions against North Korea, while Pyongyang has threatened to take unspecified retaliatory steps against such sanctions. (Yonhap News)