United nations, March 18
The United States, its Western allies and experts shone a spotlight on the dire human rights situation and increasing repression in North Korea at a UN meeting on Friday that China and Russia denounced as a politicised move likely to further escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula.
China blocked the US from broadcasting the informal Security Council meeting globally on the Internet, a decision criticised by US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield as an attempt to hide North Korea’s “atrocities from the world”.
Webcasting requires agreement by all 15 council members. But the US envoy said Beijing’s effort was in vain because the meeting will be made public, and the US and many others will continue to speak out against Pyongyang's human rights abuses and threats to international peace.
James Turpin, a senior official in the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the ongoing tensions on the Korean peninsula posed a threat to regional and international peace and security, and “these tensions cannot be separated from the dire human rights situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea”, the North’s official name.
Since the start of the Covid pandemic in early 2020, North Korea has been isolated. The United Nations has no international staff in the country and Turpin said this “coincides with an increase in the repression of civil and political rights”.
He pointed to stronger government measures to prevent people from getting access to information from the outside world. — AP
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