• U.N. opens periodic review of N. Korea’s human rights situations

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    GENEVA: The U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday opened a working group session on North Korea under its periodic peer review, with more than 80 countries expressing their views on Pyongyang’s treatment of its citizens.

    At the second working group meeting on North Korea following the 2009 session, Takashi Okada, a Japanese ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said rights violations such as those associated with political prisoners’ camps and the abduction of foreign nationals “could constitute crimes against humanity” and called on the North to take concrete actions to end the violations.

    So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador, said, “A series of human rights-related laws were adopted” during the period under review, “thus securing full legal guarantees for the implementation of policies of the state on the protection and promotion of human rights.”

    Another North Korean delegation member said the issue of abductions of Japanese nationals has been “resolved fundamentally and completely.”

    The working group is scheduled to adopt a nonbinding report including a summary of recommendations on Tuesday. The review system was launched in 2008 for member states to mutually monitor human rights situations. PNA

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