Thursday, December 18, 2014 7:13 pm
The UN General Assembly on Thursday condemned North Korea’s rights record and called for Pyongyang to be referred to the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity.
The non-binding resolution was adopted by a vote of 116 to 20 with 52 abstentions in the 193-nation assembly.
The resolution asks the Security Council to refer North Korea to the ICC and to consider targeted sanctions against the Pyongyang leadership for the repression of its citizens.
Co-sponsored by 62 countries, the resolution drew heavily on the work of a UN inquiry which concluded in a report released in February that North Korea was committing human rights abuses “without parallel in the contemporary world.”
A first vote in a General Assembly committee in November had garnered the support of 111 countries, with 19 against and 55 abstentions.
“This marks an increase of five yes votes (…) and is a strong call from the international community to improve the human rights situation in the country,” the European Union, which drafted the text with Japan, said in a statement.
But it remains an open question whether the Security Council will follow up on the resolution and seek to refer North Korea to the ICC, with China — Pyongyang’s main ally — and Russia widely expected to oppose such a move.
The Security Council will discuss North Korea at a meeting on Monday, the first to touch on the rights situation in the communist country, but no decision is expected on ICC referral during those talks.