18 December 2014 Condemning “ongoing systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights” in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution today by which it would transmit a UN-backed report probing such violations to the Security Council.
The 400-page report was released in February by the UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK, which was established by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council in March 2013. Documenting in great detail the rights violations committed in the DPRK, the report called for urgent action to address the human rights situation, including referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The resolution adopted today by the General Assembly, acting on the recommendations of its Third Committee (the Assembly's main body dealing with social, humanitarian and cultural issues) commends the work the Special Rapporteur on human rights in the DPRK and the Commission of Inquiry and decides that the commission's report should be submitted to the Security Council.
The Assembly encouraged Council members to take appropriate action to ensure accountability, including through consideration of referral of the situation to the ICC and of targeted sanctions against those appearing most responsible for crimes against humanity.
The Assembly resolution, adopted by a recorded vote of 116 in favour to 20 against, with 53 abstentions, lists examples of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, describes a system of political prison camps, the forcible transfer of populations and limitations on movement, as well as violations of rights fundamental freedoms of women, children, and persons with disabilities.
The Assembly expressed its concern that the DPRK Government refuses to recognize the Special Rapporteur's mandate or to cooperate, continuing not to acknowledge the grave human rights situation in the country, and failing to prosecute those responsible for violations, including those that may amount to crimes against humanity.
Strongly urging the Government of the DPRK to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, it urges implementation of the commission's recommendations without delay. It also welcomes the recent willingness expressed by the Government to consider human rights dialogues, technical cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and a country visit of the Special Rapporteur.
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