A draft United Nations resolution was circulated by the European Union and Japan, condemning human rights violations in North Korea and asking the U.N. Security Council to refer the country to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Associated Press (AP) reported late Friday. A General Assembly of 193 members is expected to vote on the resolution in December.
The resolution, procured by the AP, urged the Kim Jong Un-led country to shut prison camps and end the violations -- the main factor behind its citizens escaping the country. The resolution also called for targeted sanctions against those "who appear to be most responsible" for acts that "may constitute crimes against humanity," referring to a report by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry early last year, AP reported.
The resolution expressed “grave concern” over the findings by the inquiry commission and North Korea’s lack of accountability. The report also condemned "the longstanding and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights" and asked the country to take responsibility "to protect its population from crimes against humanity."
On Wednesday, Marzuki Darusman, the special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, released a report to the General Assembly, referring to forced labor in the reclusive Asian country. He said that Pyongyang had forced over 50,000 people to work outside the country, mostly in Russia and China, "under overall conditions that reportedly amount to forced labor."
"The rationale behind that state-sponsored system appears to be to circumvent U.N. sanctions imposed on the country with a view to earning currencies," Darusman said in the report, according to Reuters, adding that the North Korean government is believed to have earned between $1.2 billion and $2.3 billion a year, in the process. Darusman cited summary executions, arbitrary detention, torture, ill-treatment of people inside political prison camps along with an alleged discrimination against people based on social class, AP reported.
However, North Korea, which is currently under U.N. sanctions for conducting nuclear tests and missile launches, has repeatedly denied allegations by the U.N. against human rights violations for over a year.
Last December, the General Assembly had approved a non-binding resolution asking the Security Council to get the ICC to probe into the human rights situation in the country, but the council has not taken any action on it yet. The AP report added that the delay could be due to opposition from China, a North Korea ally. Last March, Beijing rejected the U.N. report on human rights violations in North Korea and said that the allegations were not credible.
“The inability of the commission to get support and co-operation from the country concerned made it impossible for the commission to carry out its mandate in an impartial, objective and effective manner,” Chinese diplomat Chen Chuandong said last March, adding that the Beijing will hesitate to veto any resolutions on the matter following the report.