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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 100 (April 1, 2010)

N. Korea Slams U.N. Resolution on Human Rights Abuses

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on March 29 blasted a U.N. resolution adopted last week which deplored the "widespread and systematic" human rights abuses in North Korea and extended the mandate of a special envoy on human rights conditions in the socialist country.

   Condemning the resolution as a plot by the United States and Japan to undermine its political system, the North's foreign ministry said that Pyongyang has never recognized the "anti-DPRK (North Korea) resolutions which have been adopted high-handedly every year since 2003."

   The U.N. Human Rights Council passed a resolution on March 25 to extend the mandate for a special rapporteur on North Korean human rights that had been set to expire at the end of June while condemning "widespread and systematic" human rights abuses in North Korea.

   An unnamed spokesman for the North's Foreign Ministry told the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), monitored in Seoul, that the resolution is "peppered with distortions and fabrications and it is a product of a politically motivated plot of the U.S. and Japan." The spokesman added the resolution is "nothing but a daydream to bring about changes in North Korea by means of confrontation and pressure."

   Under a 2004 U.N. mandate, Vitit Muntarbhorn, a Thai law professor, has been working as special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, considered one of the worst rights violators in the world.

   North Korea has refused to allow Muntarbhorn onto its soil and repeatedly denied that it violates human rights. But critics say Pyongyang routinely tortures, imprisons and executes dissidents while impoverishing its people by diverting food and basic necessities to the elite.

   The U.N. resolution pointed to the "use of torture and labor camps" against political prisoners and repatriated citizens of North Korea.

   Tabled by the European Union and Japan, the resolution was passed by the 47-member council with 28 votes in favor, five against and 13 abstentions. Introducing the resolution, Borgia Montesino, a Spanish diplomat speaking for the EU, said that the bloc was "alarmed" by the precarious human rights situation in North Korea.

   North Korea's representative Choe Myong-nam slammed the resolution as driven by "ill-minded political motivations." Pyongyang "categorically rejects the stereotyped draft resolution," said the diplomat, describing it as "full of distortions."

   North Korea's foreign ministry response came a few days after the U.N. resolution in a question-and-answer session aired by the KCNA.

   The ministry spokesman claimed the resolution is "a product of a politically motivated plot of the U.S. and Japan to get the system in the DPRK degenerate and destabilize it under the signboard of protecting human rights."

   The DPRK has never recognized the "anti-DPRK resolutions" and "special rapporteurs" appointed by the U.N, but has instead categorically rejected them, according to the spokesman.

   The "special rapporteur" being appointed to anti-U.S. and independent countries is typical of the body's double standards and disregard for impartiality and objectivity when dealing with human rights, he said. "It is nothing but a daydream to bring about changes in the DPRK by means of confrontation and pressure."

   The spokesman warned that the North would "smash the hostile forces' moves for hatching plots against the DPRK over the human rights issue" and would ensure that the rights of its people under socialism are secured.

   The KCNA issued an statement on March 27 slamming U.S. human rights abuses and branding the resolution "as a poor artifice to cover up (the U.S.'s) poorest human rights record and threaten and blackmail sovereign states."

   The statement went on to describe the U.S. as a society where the law of the jungle governs. "In this society one can live only by way of racketeering and through fraud and swindle."

   "Human life and inviolable rights are exposed to constant threat in American society where all sorts of crimes are rampant," it said.

   Wars of aggression and military interventions perpetrated by the U.S. in different countries and regions under the signboard of the "war on terror" are the worst form of state-sponsored terrorism and, at the same time, the most hideous human rights abuses, it claimed.

   "All facts go to clearly prove that the U.S. is the world's worst human rights abuser. It had better seriously repent of its own human rights issue and human rights abuses before styling itself a 'human rights judge' jeered by the world."

   The U.S. State Department's recently released 2009 Human Rights Report on North Korea also drew sharp fire from Pyongyang. In the report, the U.S. blasted the North's human rights conditions, citing alleged "torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments" along with public executions.

   The report added that the North's human rights record remains "deplorable" under an "absolute" dictatorship by reclusive leader Kim Jong-il, with the government continuing to "commit numerous serious abuses."

   It said North Koreans are "denied freedom of speech, press, assembly, and association, and the government attempts to control all information," noting reports of "extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detention, arrests of political prisoners, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, and torture."