DPRK rejects "fabricated" testimonies in damning UN rights report

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Marzuki Darusman. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

A host of UN Member States expressed deep concern at rights violations by Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Monday as a top human rights investigator told the Human Rights Council said that it would be held accountable "sooner or later".

UN special rapporteur Marzuki Darusman told delegates in Geneva that "well over 200,000" people including children had been abducted by DPRK since 1950.

He called on "targeted pressure" on the north Korean state to resolve this and other issues, which DPRK rejected outright, blaming defectors for false testimonies. Daniel Johnson has more.

At the Human Rights Council, UN investigator Marzuki Darusman said that there was still the same level of suffering in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as had been revealed a year ago.

He said that instead of responding to UN findings, DPRK authorities had called into question key testimony by defector Shin Dong-hyuk.

The exile, who fled the country in 2005, wrote a book about life in north Korea and testified for the UN report.

He later changed parts of his account, but Mr Darusman said he stood by the UN's findings which were based on 80 victim and witness statements.

The UN investigator said he was "deeply saddened" by DPRK's decision to withdraw an invitation to visit the country, which followed a call for an International Criminal Court investigation in December last year.

"The tide of international attention and concern is unstoppable, and this posture of isolation is no longer sustainable."

In response, the DPRK delegation rejected what it called "fabricated" testimonies by defectors who it said had been bribed.

Supported by the Russian Federation and Venezuala in the council, the north Korean delegation also blamed the EU, Japan and the "hostile" US alliance against DPRK for "ill-minded political objectives".

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration 1'13"

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