North Korea lashes out at new international criticism on rights

by WorldTribune Staff, July 23, 2017

A North Korea propaganda website on July 22 blasted those it says are “making a fuss” over Pyongyang’s human rights record, Yonhap reported.

In the past week, both South Korea liberal government and Britain, which has an active North Korean embassy, have voiced concerns over what they say are the North’s continued human rights abuses.

North Korea has long been accused of human rights abuses ranging from holding political prisoners in concentration camps to committing torture and carrying out public executions. / Reuters

The propaganda website Uriminzokkiri said in a commentary that “Inter-Korean relations have deteriorated to their worst level and mutual distrust and confrontation have heightened, because conservatives during the (preceding) Lee Myung-Bak and Park Geun-Hye governments raised questions over the North’s human rights.”

The website also criticized liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-In for his recent meeting with UN Special Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana in Seoul.

“Forgetful of the lessons of the past, the incumbent authorities in South Korea are again making a fuss over the North Korean human rights. This is ugly and disgusting,” the propaganda site said.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha, while meeting with Quintana, said that human rights in North Korea remains a “matter of great concern” to the South Korean government.

Quintana’s visit coincided with an offer from the Moon’s government to hold military talks with the North and Red Cross talks to discuss reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. There has been no official response from the North on the overtures.

The UK has also urged the Kim Jong-Un regime to improve its human rights record.

“We continue to have grave concerns about the DPRK’s disregard for, and violations of, international human rights norms and obligations,” the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in an annual report on human rights and democracy posted on its website.

“The UK continues to urge the DPRK government to acknowledge the existence and extent of its human rights violations and to demonstrate a willingness to take steps to address these issues.”

The report said British diplomats raised human rights issues at several meetings with North Korean officials in Pyongyang. British officials also called on North Korea to allow the UN special rapporteur to visit the isolated country.

North Korea has rejected a request to visit Pyongyang by Quintana.

The UN Commission of Inquiry in 2014 issued a report saying that North Korean leaders are responsible for “widespread, systematic and gross” violations of human rights.

Meanwhile, North Korean media reported that Pyongyang’s ICBM technology has been “perfected” to reach the highest level of boosting the national nuclear force.

The report added that the North will not let up in its weapons of mass destruction development if the U.S. sticks to its “hostile policy” toward Pyongyang.

“The army and people of the DPRK remain unchanged in their will not to flinch even an inch from the road of boosting their nuclear force as long as the U.S. hostile policy and nuclear threat to the latter are not fundamentally removed.”

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