The United States is hosting an informal meeting of United Nations Security Council members next week to discuss human rights abuses in North Korea, which is likely to anger Pyongyang and provoke protests from China and Russia.
“The DPRK’s human rights violations and abuses threaten international peace and security and are directly related to the country’s illegal weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programs,” the US and Albania said in a memo seen by Reuters. Meeting next Friday.
Albania is currently an elected member of the Security Council and hosts meetings with the United States.
Since 2014, the 15-member Security Council has regularly discussed human rights in North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. But China and Russia have objected to the issue being raised in the council.
Pyongyang rejects allegations of human rights abuses and blames economic sanctions for North Korea’s dire humanitarian situation. The country has been under UN sanctions since 2006 for its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
North Korea’s UN in New York The delegation did not immediately respond to a request for comment on next week’s meeting.
The purpose of the informal meeting was to highlight rights violations and “identify opportunities for the international community to improve accountability,” the US and Albanian note said.
According to them, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s government responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with “further isolation and repression, including “shoot-to-kill orders”.
“The government of the DPRK has stepped up efforts to crack down on basic freedoms and the free flow of information, with reports of thousands of new arrests and harsh prison sentences. A total of 80,000 to 120,000 political prisoners are believed to be currently imprisoned in the DPRK,” the note said.
The meeting took place amid heightened international tensions. Kim’s powerful sister, Kim Yo Jong, has warned that the Pacific Ocean is turning into a “shooting range” and that any action to shoot down North Korea’s test missiles would be a declaration of war.
Pyongyang has launched dozens of missiles over the past year, including intercontinental ballistic missiles. But China and Russia have opposed the Security Council move and argued that putting pressure on North Korea would not be constructive. In May last year, the two vetoed a US-led effort to impose more UN sanctions on North Korea.
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