South Korea missing from U.N. North Korea rights resolution

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Nov. 19 (UPI) — South Korea has opted out of co-sponsoring a North Korean human rights bill at the United Nations as the top North Korean diplomat in New York condemned the resolution as a fabrication.

Seoul has chosen again to not participate in a resolution on North Korean rights abuses at the General Assembly, but has said it conceptually supports global cooperation on rights protection, South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo reported Thursday.

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“The principal position of the [South Korean] government is to work together with the international community to substantially improve the human rights of North Koreans,” Seoul’s foreign ministry said.

South Korea is distancing itself from the resolution, which condemns North Korean practices of forced labor, abductions and arbitrary detention. This year North Korea raised tensions with statements against defectors and by demolishing the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong.

North Korea has declined to cooperate with the South, and has not responded to the South’s offer of joint investigation into the death of a South Korean civil servant in North Korean territory.

Lee Rae-jin, the older brother of the slain man, told the Donga Seoul’s refusal to co-sponsor the U.N. bill is unacceptable.

“In a country where the president was a former human rights lawyer and a citizen was killed in the hands of North Korean troops, does it make sense to not participate?” Lee said.

North Korea has slammed the resolution.

Kim Song, the North Korean ambassador to the U.N., said Wednesday the bill makes baseless claims, Radio Free Asia’s Korean service reported.

The resolution is a “political ploy” that has “nothing to do with improving human rights,” Kim said. The North Korean diplomat also described North Korean defectors in the South as “human garbage” whose “fabrications” are the basis for the rights abuse allegations.

U.N. Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana has previously said defectors play an important role in delivering information into and out of the Kim Jong Un regime.

Quintana has sent a letter to the North expressing concern about the death of the South Korean officer this week, according to RFA.