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European Parliament passes resolution condemning N. Korean human rights conditions

All Headlines 01:02 July 09, 2010

BRUSSELS, July 8 (Yonhap) -- The European Parliament adopted a resolution Thursday urging North Korea to improve its human rights conditions and for the European states to step up their monitoring of the situation in the communist state.

Expressing concern over "the grave, widespread and systematic human rights abuses" in North Korea, the parliament urged the EU to support the establishment of a U.N. commission to assess human rights violations in the country. It also urged the EU member states to sponsor a resolution at the U.N. General Assembly demanding that the North's "crimes against humanity" be subject to international jurisdiction, including the country's systematic extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention and political prison camps.

The last time the legislative body adopted a similar resolution was in 2006.

In particular, the resolution called on the European Commission to add a clause in a free trade agreement with South Korea to monitor the rights of North Korean workers at the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The complex houses manufacturing plants run by South Korean businesses who produce price-competitive goods using cheaper North Korean labor.

Addressing the dismal human rights conditions of North Korean refugees in China, the European Parliament demanded the issue be raised at EU-China high-level talks to stop Beijing from arresting and returning North Korean refugees to their home country.

Thursday's resolution came just three weeks after another resolution calling on China and Russia to join efforts to rebuke Pyongyang over the sinking of South Korean warship Cheonan. Forty-six sailors died in the March 26 attack which a multinational probe in May concluded Pyongyang was responsible for.


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