By John J. Metzler
UNITED NATIONS — A growing global wave of criticism, concern and consternation continues as both the U.N. General Assembly and now the Security Council have firmly condemned North Korea’s communist regime for human rights abu ses to its own population. The moves come amid widening, and overdue, international attention on the reprehensible and widespread human rights situation in the reclusive and quaintly titled Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
First, the full General Assembly voted 116 in favor, 20 against, and 53 abstentions to a tough but non-binding resolution calling on the international community to improve human rights in the DPRK. Then, for the first time ever, the Security Council met specifically to cover North Korea’s human rights abuses.
The Security Council action marked a landmark human rights action called for over a decade ago here at the U.N. by former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel. ��With today’s historic debate the U.N. finally sends the message that North Korean rulers who starve and enslave their own people must be held accountable,�� opined Hillel Neuer of the Geneva-based U.N. Watch, a human rights advocate group.
Importantly as American Ambassador Samantha Power stated, ��Today we have broken the Council’s silence. We have begun to shine a light, and what it has revealed is terrifying. We must continue to shine that light, for as long as these abuses persist.��
Given the Security Council’s consideration of crimes against humanity, there’s a growing possibility that members of the Kim Jong Un regime may be the referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Though the focus of human rights attention has little to do with the parallel uproar between a Sony Pictures satirical movie release ��The Interview�� and a subsequent North Korean cyberattack on the Hollywood studios, the facts remain that the DPRK dictatorship brooks no criticism, especially from a foreign film, whose parent company is based in Japan.