Key UN committee condemns North Korea for not aiding people

A key U.N. committee approved a resolution Tuesday condemning North Korea for diverting its resources to pursue nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles instead of helping its people, over half of whom need more food and improved medical care.

The resolution sponsored by the European Union and Japan was adopted without a vote by the General Assembly's human rights committee. It has 61 co-sponsors — two more than last year — and now goes to the 193-member assembly which is certain to adopt it in December.

Estonia's deputy U.N. ambassador Minna-Liina Lind, speaking on behalf of the EU, accused North Korea of committing serious human rights violations "in a widespread and systematic way," including by its "inhumane conditions in detention camps," restricted freedom of movement and limitations on the right to information.

Japan's U.N. Ambassador Koro Bessho said that despite the needs of North Koreans, authorities "continue to divert their resources into pursuing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles over the welfare of its people."

North Korea's U.N. Ambassador Ja Song Nam told the committee before the vote that the government "categorically rejects" the resolution.

He called it "a product of the political and military confrontation, plot and conspiracy of the United States and other hostile forces."

Ja accused the U.S. and its allies of resorting to "unprecedented military threat and blackmail, sanctions and pressure" against North Korea, stressing that U.S. sanctions are attempting "to eliminate the rights to survival and development of our state."

He said that on the pretext of implementing sanctions, the delivery of medicine and medical equipment to North Korea has been cut, and most aid activities by international organizations that have worked in the country for over 20 years have been set back or reduced.

The resolution doesn't address the impact of sanctions, only the impact of diverting resources to advance nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs on the humanitarian and human rights situation in North Korea.

It "condemns the longstanding and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights" in the North.

Following the imprisonment of American college student Otto Warmbier, who returned home in June with brain damage and died days later, the resolution strongly urges North Korea to provide non-citizens who are detained freedom of communication and access to consular officials.

It noted the findings of the U.N. commission of inquiry on North Korea in 2014 that information it received provided reasonable grounds that crimes against humanity have been committed in the Asian nation.

The commission concluded that crimes against humanity, including extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions, persecution, deliberate starvation and disappearances were committed "pursuant to policies at the highest level of the state."

The resolution strongly urged North Korea's government to end human rights violations, including immediately closing political prison camps and releasing all political prisoners.

It also urged the government to allow all North Koreans freedom of movement and freedom to leave the country, including to seek asylum, and to ensure that those who are expelled or returned to the country are not punished.


This story corrects that there are 61 co-sponsors of the resolution

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Nation & World

BET Awards 2018: Winners list
BET Awards 2018: Winners list

The 2018 BET Awards aired Sunday at from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. >> Read more trending news  DJ Khaled leads the nominations with six, but close behind are Kendrick Lamar with five nominations and SZA and Migos with four nods each. All four nominees are performers at the show, which is hosted by Jamie Foxx. Some of...
5 arrested for murder of New York teen who was hacked to death with machete
5 arrested for murder of New York teen who was hacked to death with machete

Police arrested five people Sunday in connection with a brutal machete attack on a teen outside a Bronx bodega earlier in the week.  Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, 15, was pulled out of the Cruz and Chiky grocery Wednesday by members of the Dominican gang Trinitarios, who beat him, hacked him with a machete and left him to die on the sidewalk outside...
Suspect accused in mentally disabled woman's assault was once police chief
Suspect accused in mentally disabled woman's assault was once police chief

Roughly 20 years before Robert Lanier New became embroiled in assault allegations tied to a mentally disabled woman and her niece, he served as the police chief in Emerson.  City officials confirmed to WSB-TV that New had two stints with Emerson police. New first served with the department from September 1998 to February 1999, when he left...
Dwyane Wade says he wants to bring Sonics back to Seattle
Dwyane Wade says he wants to bring Sonics back to Seattle

Future basketball hall of famer Dwyane Wade may still have a couple seasons left in his tank, but he’s also already thinking about what will come next for him when his playing career ends.  "Seattle. I want Seattle's team, the Sonics, to come back," Wade told Joel Weber, of Bloomberg, regarding his hope to one day be part...
WATCH: 'Permit Patty' appears to call police on girl selling bottled water in viral video
WATCH: 'Permit Patty' appears to call police on girl selling bottled water in viral video

A white woman who appeared to call the police on a biracial girl selling bottled water to raise money for a Disneyland trip has gone viral, sparking the hashtag #PermitPatty. According to USA Today, the girl's mother, Erin Austin, captured the alleged phone call on video, which has been viewed millions of times since it was posted Saturday. She said...
More Stories