Saturday, March 20, 2010

North Korea / United Nations

North Korea Spurns UN push to Stop Executions and Torture
By Donald Kirk
Christian Science Monitor, March 19, 2010
"North Korea is spurning United Nations demands to stop public executions, torture of prisoners, and other endemic violations of human rights in the aftermath of the reported execution of the senior official responsible for disastrous economic reforms. Ri Chol, North Korea's ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, on Thursday denounced the council's recommendations as reflecting historic hostility toward the North's long-ruling leadership. He issued his rejoinder in response to demands that also included calls to stop training children for military service and forcing citizens to perform hard labor against their will. The verbal exchange came on the heels of the reported execution of Pak Nam-ki, the former chief of economic planning for the ruling Workers' Party. A firing squad executed Mr. Pak last week in Pyongyang as punishment for harming the country's currency, according to Yonhap, the South Korean news agency. ... North Korea has persistently refused to admit the UN's special human rights rapporteur into the country. Nonetheless, hopes had been high that the North might be willing to put on a show of understanding of concerns about its human rights record. 'Those who wanted to find some silver lining in the gray clouds of North Korea’s human rights record had pointed to North Korean participation in Geneva at least as evidence that North Korea wanted to put its side of the story,' says Mr. Fitzpatrick. Given the record, he adds, 'it's hard to think' that North Koreans 'could persuade anyone of their bona fides.' [...]"

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