UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) – North Korea comes under scrutiny Monday at the UN Security Council in the first-ever meeting on its dismal rights record, amid calls for Pyongyang to be referred to the International Criminal Court.
Until now, the top UN body has focused on North Korea’s nuclear programme as a security threat, but the scope has widened to human rights following the release of a UN commission of inquiry report.
US Ambassador Samantha Power said the UN report released in February confirmed that “the human rights violations in North Korea are among the worst in the world. They are widespread. They are systematic”.
“And – given the threat they pose to peace and security – they have been going on outside the scrutiny of the UN Security Council for far too long.”
The unprecedented meeting comes as North Korea faces US accusations of staging a cyber attack on Sony Pictures that exposed embarrassing emails and scuttled the release of a movie.
Ten of the 15 council members pushed for North Korea to be put on the agenda,
but Russia and China argued that rights concerns should be addressed at the UN Human Rights Council, and not the Security Council.
China is expected to again raise objections at the meeting on Monday.