The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution condemning human rights violations by North Korea for the 18th consecutive year.
The council, consisting of 47 member nations, passed the resolution by consensus without a vote during the 43rd session in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday.
The council said in the resolution that it is deeply concerned at the "systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations" in North Korea that, in many instances, constitute crimes against humanity.
The resolution, submitted by the European Union, urged the North Korean leadership to prevent and deter crimes against human rights and prosecute abusers.
The resolution also said that the human rights situation in North Korea may "further deteriorate by the current threat of COVID-19," emphasizing the importance of timely assistance to North Koreans.
South Korea did not join other countries in co-sponsoring the draft resolution for the second straight year.
The government said South Korea took part in adopting the resolution under the basic principle that it will work with the international community to practically improve the situation in North Korea, but it did not co-sponsor it in consideration of the current situation on the Korean Peninsula.