Pyongyang “strongly” condemned the recent passage of the UN draft resolution on human rights violations in North Korea and reiterated its call for the UN to investigate the US for human rights abuses, state-run media reported on November 21.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), or North Korea, claimed that the US and other “hostile forces” forcibly adopted the draft resolution, in a press statement issued by an unnamed Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson.
The press statement was released four days after the EU-led draft resolution was passed at the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on November 17 for the 17th consecutive year by consensus, with more than 60 countries joining as co-sponsors.
The ministry “strongly denounces and categorically rejects the anti-DPRK human rights resolution of the hostile forces”, the spokesperson said, echoing North Korean ambassador to the UN Kim Song’s remarks during November 17’s meeting.
The spokesperson dismissed the resolution as a “product of anti-DPRK hostile policy and double standards as well as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty aimed at tarnishing the prestigious image of our state”.
Pyongyang also pledged to firmly respond to any attempts to violate its sovereignty.
“To us, human rights are, after all, state rights,” the statement, which was carried by state-run Korean Central News Agency primarily targeting external audiences, read.
“We will never tolerate any attempts that violate the sovereignty of our state, and we will continue to resolutely counter to the end the ever-worsening moves of the hostile forces against us.”
In November 21’s statement, Pyongyang also specifically urged the UN to look into human rights violations associated with the US, which participated in the UN human rights resolution as a co-sponsor.
The spokesperson said that the UN should put the “inhumane crimes committed by the US” on the agenda and bring the US to account for killing “a large number of civilians in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan under the pretext of democracy and protection of human rights”.
The condemnation is in line with the trend of the country’s foreign ministry releasing statements addressing US human rights issues more frequently since this August on its official website.
November 21’s denunciation is not fresh, but it is notable given that the Biden administration places human rights issues and democratic values at the centre of US foreign policy, mainly to counter China.
Washington has reversed the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). The Biden administration is set to return to the HRC in January after regaining a seat on the council last month.
On November 19, the ministry also called for eradicating the US “double-dealing standards” over human rights issues in a statement uploaded on its online website.
In a separate statement, the ministry denounced the UN on the same day for arbitrarily addressing human rights issues in specific countries including Syria and Iran.
Pyongyang also complained that the US and other western countries have been excluded from the target of UN investigation into violations and abuses of human rights.
THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK