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UN rights body condemns North Korea violations

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] adopted a resolution Thursday condemning North Korea [press release] for human rights violations. The resolution [A/HRC/13/L.13 materials] decries "grave, widespread and systematic human rights abuses in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in particular the use of torture and labour camps against political prisoners and repatriated citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea." The council extended the assignment of Special Rapporteur Vitit Muntarbhorn [official profile] for one year and asked that North Korea and the UN General Assembly cooperate with and assist Muntarbhorn in his mission.

Earlier this month Muntarbhorn, who has not been admitted into North Korea, presented a report [JURIST report] to the UNHRC that found the situation in North Korea was deteriorating and that sanctions had not improved human rights conditions. In October, Muntarbhorn criticized [JURIST report] North Korea for human rights violations. Muntarbhorn said that North Korea was responsible for a broad range of human rights violations [press release], including torture, public executions, and widespread hunger. In March 2009, Muntarbhorn told the UNHRC that he found egregious human rights violations [JURIST report] in North Korea. In October 2008, Muntarbhorn urged [JURIST report] North Korea to improve its treatment of prisoners and unsuccessful defectors, as well as to cooperate in locating kidnapped foreign citizens. In January 2008, Muntarbhorn made similar comments during his visit with a special UN envoy to Japan [JURIST report] to assess the impact of the North Korean rights situation on that country. North Korea has frequently been accused of human trafficking, press repression, and "actively committing crimes against humanity" [JURIST report].

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