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EU Resolution on Human Rights in North Korea is Put to UN Vote

EU Resolution on Human Rights in North Korea is Put to UN Vote

Posted March. 24, 2005 22:26,   


In the 61st session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, North Korea harshly criticized the EU`s move to draft a resolution on the human rights record of North Korea. However, the resolution first drafted in 2003 has stricter clauses as time passes, and there are increasingly more pros than cons in voting on it. The South Korean government is likely to abstain from voting just like last year, which would revive controversy all over again.

Strong opposition from North Korea-

Kim Sung Chul, a diplomat at the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at the conference, "The EU`s move to draft the resolution is a cowardly gesture to jump onto the bandwagon of the U.S.’s anti-North Korea policy,” adding, "We are sick and tired of the EU`s hypocritical gesture to isolate opposite parties in the middle of dialogue," citing the recent incident where the EU and North Korea once pursued dialogue and cooperation. Choi Myung-nam, the North Korean representative to Geneva, said, "Our regime is our people`s choice," adding, "The EU is trying to put unreasonable pressure on [North Korea] by submitting a ill-intentional resolution."

Voting outlook-

The EU`s North Korea resolution will be put to a vote after being drafted around April 7 or 8. The U.S. and the EU showed the same strong stance on the human rights issue in North Korea, despite some of their differences over the Iraqi issue, hinting at the smooth passage of the resolution.

As a result, the main concern for the UN Commission on Human Rights boils down to the specifics of the resolution rather than the voting outcome. The 2003 resolution strongly showed concerns over poor human rights record in North Korea, but in 2004, it specifically mentioned that "there should be a newly appointed special consultant on North Korea`s human rights record."

Advanced countries like Japan and the United Kingdom strongly criticized North Korea`s attitude, saying, "North Korea never cooperated in investigating the human rights situation there." It shows this time the resolution would have parts that more strongly pressured North Korea. One government official predicted, "The government`s detailed response will be decided after the resolution is reviewed, but there won’t be much of a change from last year." Last year, South Korea abstained from the voting, saying, "We are worried about the human rights situation in North Korea, but sensitive to the inter-Korean relationship that has be taken into account."

Hyong-gwon Pu bookum90@donga.com