UN General Assembly adopts N. Korea human rights resolution calling for ICC referral

December 17, 2015

NEW YORK (Yonhap) — For the second consecutive year, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court for human rights violations.

The adoption came after the resolution passed through the General Assembly’s Third Committee last month. It is the second time that a U.N. General Assembly resolution has called for Pyongyang’s referral to the ICC after last year’s landmark resolution.

A total of 119 nations voted for the resolution and 19 nations against it, with 48 abstentions on Thursday.

The consecutive adoption of such resolutions underscored the seriousness the international community attaches to the problem and is expected to increase pressure on Pyongyang.

Last year’s resolution also led to the U.N. Security Council taking up the issue for discussions for the first time. This year again, the Security Council held discussions on the issue last week after the latest resolution passed through the Third Committee.

Despite the resolutions, however, chances of an actual referral are slim because General Assembly resolutions, unlike U.N. Security Council resolutions, are not legally binding and China and Russia, which have friendlier ties with North Korea than any other countries, are expected to veto such a move.

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

But the North has bristled at such criticism, calling it a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime.

In June, the State Department said in its annual human rights report that the North’s human rights record “remained among the worst in the world” last year with public executions, political prison camps, torture and other abuses.