Monday, June 24, 2024
HomeNewsUN slams North Korea for worsening rights amid arms buildup – DW...

UN slams North Korea for worsening rights amid arms buildup – DW – 08/18/2023


Several members of the UN Security Council on Thursday condemned North Korea for an abysmal human rights record which they said is only getting worse.

The regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was criticized for allocating substantial resources to its nuclear weapons program even as many people are unable to access basic necessities due to the worsening economic situation.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk told the first open meeting of the Security Council since 2017 on North Korean human rights that the country’s people have endured periods of severe economic difficulty and repression, but “currently they appear to be suffering both.”

“According to our information, people are becoming increasingly desperate as informal markets and other coping mechanisms are dismantled, while their fear of state surveillance, arrest, interrogation and detention has increased,” he said.

Military advances over human rights

Türk attributed many of these violations to the increasing militarization of North Korea, indicating that numerous infringements were linked to or directly supported the country’s military ambitions. He pointed out the prevalent use of forced labor, including among children, to bolster the state’s military capabilities and weapon-building endeavors.

Türk said North Korea has shut down markets and other means of earning income, which has led to a rise in crime. “This sharply constrains people’s ability to provide for themselves and their families,” he said.

“Given the limits of state-run economic institutions, many people appear to be facing extreme hunger as well as acute shortages of medication.”

North Korea said to be on brink of food crisis

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video

He said anyone found viewing “reactionary ideology and culture” could face prison, and those found distributing such material may face life imprisonment or even the death penalty.

First session in six years

The United States had specifically requested this session, marking the first time in six years that the Security Council had convened to discuss human rights in North Korea. The meeting took place against the backdrop of heightened tensions in the region due to North Korea’s accelerated testing of nuclear-capable missiles over the past year.

The US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, denounced human rights abuses in a joint statement along with representatives from more than 50 countries. She emphasized the interconnectedness between these violations and the country’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile technology.

The UN Human Rights Office’s special rapporteur on North Korea, Elizabeth Salmon, pointed out that the prolonged closure of the country’s borders, a consequence of global sanctions, had exacerbated the hardships faced by its people, leading to food shortages.

Tensions between North and South Korea remain high

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video

Salmon argued that the ongoing frozen conflict was being exploited to rationalize further militarization in North Korea, with detrimental impacts on its populace. She asserted that Pyongyang’s policy prioritizes channeling resources toward the military establishment.

Support from Russia and China

Throughout the session, numerous council members expressed dismay at the worsening living conditions and human rights situation in North Korea. The country is grappling with stern sanctions imposed by both the Security Council and major nations due to its nuclear weapons program.

Although no representative from Pyongyang was present, delegates from China and Russia contended that the Security Council was not the appropriate platform for discussing North Korean human rights concerns.

Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyansky called the meeting “propaganda” and “a cynical and hypocritical attempt by the US and its allies to advance their own political agenda to step up pressure on Pyongyang.” 

Both China and Russia argued that the dialogue was unproductive and failed to propose solutions for alleviating strategic tensions in the region.

tg/ab (AFP, AP)


Source link



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments