The U.S. has called for a public United Nations (U.N.) Security Council meeting to discuss human rights abuses in North Korea.
“Long overdue” meeting: The U.S., which currently holds the Security Council’s rotating presidency for this month, will be holding its first open meeting on Pyongyang’s human rights issues since 2017. U.N. human rights chief Volker Türk and investigator Elizabeth Salmon will reportedly brief the 15-nation Security Council on Aug. 17.
“It is long overdue,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in the announcement with support from the ambassadors of Albania, Japan and South Korea.
We know the government’s human rights abuses and violations facilitate the advancement of its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. The Security Council must address the horrors, the abuses and the crimes being perpetrated daily by the Kim regime against its own citizens, and people from other member states, including Japan and Republic of Korea.
China and Russia disagree: However, China and Russia — who have close relations with North Korea — have said that the Security Council is not the right venue for such discussions. The nations contend that rights issues should be confined to bodies such as the U.N. Human Rights Council or General Assembly.
While the two countries may call for a procedural vote next week, the U.S. expects the minimum nine votes needed to hold the meeting despite potential protests. China was previously accused of trying to hide North Korea’s atrocities by blocking the broadcast of an informal meeting of Security Council members on accusations of Pyongyang’s human rights abuses.
Crimes against humanity: North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions over its ballistic missiles and nuclear programs since 2006.
In 2014, the U.N. Commission of Inquiry concluded that North Korea’s crimes against humanity include: “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”