Tue, Nov 21, 2006 - Page 5 News List

N Korea rejects UN resolution panning human rights record

AP , SEOUL

North Korea yesterday rejected a UN resolution condemning the regime's human rights record, calling it a US-led fabrication "full of sheer lies."

"We categorically reject the recent human rights resolution as a product of their anti-[North Korea] political plot," a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement on the country's official Korean Central News Agency.

The comments came a day after the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which included the US, Japan and China, criticized North Korea for conducting a nuclear test on Oct. 9.

On Friday, a UN committee approved the resolution, which was sponsored by the EU, accusing the North of public executions, torture and other human rights violations. The draft resolution goes to a plenary meeting of the 192-nation UN assembly for final approval.

It was the first formal comment from the North's central government on the resolution.

On Saturday, a ruling Workers' Party organ, dealing with relations with South Korea, issued a statement criticizing Seoul for voting for the resolution.

North Korea has long been accused of imposing the death penalty for political reasons, holding thousands in prison camps, torturing border-crossers and severely restricting freedom of expression and religion.

But Pyongyang has rejected the allegations, claiming it the resolution is part of a US attempt to overthrow its regime.

"The resolution fabricated by hostile forces, toeing the US line, is full of sheer lies that can convince no one, as was the case with the similar one adopted last year," the North's spokesman said.

"The US and the EU had better put an end to their own human rights abuses before finding fault with the human rights performance in other countries," he said.

South Korea voted in favor of the motion in an about-face that could further strain its relations with the North.

Until the new resolution, Seoul did not vote on similar resolutions out of concern its criticism of Pyongyang might complicate inter-Korean relations and efforts to resolve the nuclear standoff.

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