United States urges North Korea to improve human rights record

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North Korea has been urged to acknowledge human rights violations in the country and take immediate steps to end such violations and abuses.

The call came from Ambassador Robert R. King, United States Special Envoy for North Korea Human Rights Issues in Geneva during his address to the UN body in charge of examining the human rights records of Member States.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR), under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, provides the opportunity for governments to declare what steps they have taken to improve their human rights records.

Ambassador King advised North Korea to cooperate with and accept technical assistance from the UN human rights office.

"We remain deeply concerned by what the Commission of Inquiry termed the ongoing "systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations" committed by government officials and institutions, which the COI concluded may in some cases amount to crimes against humanity.  We are alarmed by the widespread use of forced labor, including child labor in detention facilities, and we remain concerned about instances of violence against women, forced abduction of foreign nationals and reports of torture and abuse in detention facilities." (34″)

The US Special Envoy also requested North Korea to "immediately" dismantle all political prison camps, release all political prisoners, and institute protections against arbitrary detention that guarantee fair trial and due process.

He also encouraged it to end "state-sponsored discrimination" based on the country's caste or "songbun" system, as well as pervasive discrimination against women.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration:  1’43″


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