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U.S. welcomes S. Korea's law on N. Korea's human rights

All Headlines 06:51 September 07, 2016

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. State Department said Tuesday it welcomes South Korea's law aimed at improving North Korea's human rights situation, declaring that the North's human rights record "has no parallels in the modern world."

The landmark law, which passed through the National Assembly in March, went into effect on Sunday. The enactment came 11 years after the law was first introduced in the National Assembly in 2005. The legislation has since been a target of political bickering amid ideological differences over how to approach the problem.

The law calls mainly for documenting North Korea's human rights situation and establishing a foundation tasked with examining the situation, putting together policies aimed at improving the situation and providing humanitarian support for the North Korean people.

"We welcome the entry into effect of the Republic of Korea's law on human rights in the DPRK and look forward to working with the foundation and documentation center established under the law," Justin Higgins, a State Department spokesman, told Yonhap News Agency.

"We hope implementation of the law will promote respect for the human rights of every DPRK citizen and accountability for those most responsible for human rights violations," he said. "The human rights situation in the DPRK is deplorable and has no parallels in the modern world."

The U.S. will work closely together with South Korea and others to hold "DPRK leaders accountable for their actions," he said.

The U.S. has significantly increased pressure on Pyongyang over its human rights record, imposing first-ever sanctions on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for his roles in the country's human rights abuses.

North Korea has long been labeled as one of the worst human rights violators. The communist regime does not tolerate dissent, holds hundreds of thousands of people in political prison camps and keeps tight control over outside information.

But Pyongyang has bristled at such criticism, calling it a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime.

U.S. welcomes S. Korea's law on N. Korea's human rights - 1

jschang@yna.co.kr
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