North Korea delivers human rights report via Chinese media

October 16, 2014
People gather a day before the 20th anniversary of former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung's death in Pyongyang. (Yonhap)

People gather a day before the 20th anniversary of former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung’s death in Pyongyang on July 7, 2014. (Yonhap)

BEIJING (Yonhap) — North Korea on Thursday launched a rare public blitz about its human rights by publishing a lengthy report in online editions of China’s state-run media, in an apparent effort to counter the U.N. move aimed at punishing the regime for its rights violations.

The North Korean Embassy in Beijing delivered the report on its human rights condition to Chinese media, according to the online edition of the Global Times, a newspaper run by China’s official Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily. The North Korean report was carried by online editions of several Chinese news services.

In the report, North Korea accused “some Western countries” of having a “distorted view” of the North’s human rights conditions, claiming that Pyongyang has made a lot of efforts to improve its human rights situation.

In New York on Wednesday, North Korea also circulated its own draft resolution on the country’s human rights record at the United Nations.

In recent weeks, North Korean diplomats have been unusually active in defending its human rights situation as the European Union and Japan have encouraged the U.N. Security Council to refer North Korea’s human rights abuses to the International Criminal Court in line with a report from the U.N. Commission of Inquiry that branded Pyongyang’s human rights violations as “crimes against humanity.”

Any attempt at the Security Council to refer North Korea to the international court is likely to fail because China, North Korea’s ally and one of the veto-wielding Council members, would likely veto it.

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

But Pyongyang has bristled at any talk of its human rights conditions, calling it a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime. Last month, the North released its own human rights report, claiming the country has the world’s most advantageous human rights system and policies.