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UNSC to discuss NK human rights for the first time

Posted December. 22, 2014 06:44,   


North Korean human rights issue will be adopted as an official agenda of the United Nations Security Council for the first time at a UNSC meeting to be held at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday afternoon (U.S. Eastern Time).

A U.N. source said on Saturday that there will be a resolution to adopt North Korea’s human rights as an agenda of the meeting because it is an important issue, adding that there will be reporting and discussions about the issue.

Officials of international human rights organizations and sources at the U.N. said the discussions of the North’s human rights issue as an official UNSC agenda was possible due to "support from the heaven." They thus note that the passage of a new strong resolution on North Korea’s human rights that calls for "referring of the North’s human rights situation to the International Court of Justice" and adoption of the issue as an UNSC agenda was a result of several "inevitable coincidences."

First, when the UN Human Rights Council decided on the historic establishment of the Commission of Inquiry on North Korean human rights situation in April last year, China and Russia, the North’s major allies, were not members of the council. The term of the UN Human Rights Council’s member states (47 countries in total) is three years, and countries that serve a second term consecutively can run in election for the next council only after taking one year’s repose. A ranking UN official said, “Coincidently, when the UN Human Rights Council passed the resolution to establish COI last year, both China and Russia were not members of the council due to this provision.”

In addition, the fact Michael Kirby, a former justice of the Australian Supreme Court, assumed the COI chairmanship also played a major role in developing the North’s human rights into an international issue. The North blasted the commission by saying, “The COI report was fabricated through coerced or guided testimonies,” bur Chairman Kirby, who is well versed with legal proceedings, reportedly took extra caution to prevent such misunderstanding, when drafting every single question in the report. Even few of the countries that opposed the resolution on the North’s human rights claimed that "the COI report was problematic."

Finally, the composition of this year’ UNSC also provided a favorable condition to the adoption of the issue as an UNSC agenda. Of the 15 UNSC member states, 12 countries were in favor the resolution on the North’s human rights, far exceeding the number of nations that is required (nine countries) to submit the issue as an agenda. However, if five non-permanent UNSC members are replaced next year, the number of countries that support the measure could decline to nine, and if just one of them assumes a "monthly chair state" or changes its stance not to cooperate, submitting the issue as an agenda becomes impossible.