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(LEAD) U.N. council adopts N.K. human rights resolution for 18th consecutive year

All News 21:51 June 22, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details throughout)

GENEVA, June 22 (Yonhap) -- The U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday adopted a resolution condemning North Korea's human rights violations for the 18th straight year.

During the 43rd session held in Geneva, Switzerland, the council, consisting of 47 member countries, passed the resolution by consensus.

"(The council is) deeply concerned at the systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea that, in many instances, constitute crimes against humanity," it said, using the North's official name.

The resolution also said the human rights situation in North Korea may "further deteriorate by the current threat of COVID-19, emphasizing the importance of timely assistance" to North Koreans.

This photo, provided by China's Xinhua News Agency, shows a session held by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on June 19, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

North Korea has long been labeled one of the worst human rights violators in the world. Pyongyang has bristled at such criticism, calling it a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime.

North Korea rejected the resolution while calling for attention to human rights violations in western countries, citing the U.S. police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, last month.

South Korea did not participate in co-writing the draft resolution, submitted by the European Union, for the second straight year.

"South Korea took part in adopting the resolution under the basic principle that it will work together with the international community to practically improve human rights situations in North Korea," the government said.

But the South did not co-write it, apparently in consideration of inter-Korean ties and its efforts to bring permanent peace to the peninsula.

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