#Hot Issues of the Week l 2018-12-23
The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution on North Korea's human rights, condemning "long-standing and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross violations" in and committed by the DPRK.
The resolution, approved in mid-November by the Third Committee which oversees humanitarian issues, was passed by consensus without a vote, and marks the 14th straight year such a document was passed by the global body.
South Korea, which has participated in similar resolutions as a co-sponsor since 2008, joined UN member states in the adoption.
The non-binding resolution calls on the North to immediately put an end to practices such as arbitrary detention, torture, rape and public executions, adding "those who appear to be most responsible" should be held accountable, an apparent reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the North Korean leadership.
It also urges the Security Council to review the UN Commission of Inquiry's report that details abuses in the North and to "take appropriate action," such as considering referral to the International Criminal Court.
This year's resolution newly included language welcoming the diplomatic efforts currently underway between the two Koreas and the U.S. and North Korea.
It hailed the agreement reached at the September inter-Korean summit, in which the two sides agreed to work to resolve issues regarding families separated by the Korean War.
Meanwhile, North Korean Ambassador to the UN Kim Song denounced the resolution, dismissing the cases mentioned in the document as fake stories made up by North Korean defectors.
The diplomat also criticized Japan for taking issue with his country's human rights, pointing to what he called Japan's "A-class crimes" committed during World War Two. Japan - together with the EU - had submitted the resolution.