South Korea to Back UN on North Korea

Seoul shifts gears to join in criticism of human rights record
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2008 9:57 AM CDT
South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak, left, and his wife Kim Yoon-ok cheer at the 89th anniversary of the Independence Movement against Japanese colonial rule in 1919, in Seoul, Wednesday, March. 1,...   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – South Korea is set to vote in favor of a United Nations resolution that criticizes the "systematic, widespread, and grave violations" of human rights in North Korea, the AP reports. The South's new president, Lee Myung-bak, is changing a decade of precedent: earlier administrations have either abstained or been absent when the UN considers issues relating to the North.

North Korea is one of the world's most flagrant abusers of human rights; it is believed to operate a network of prison camps housing around 200,000 political detainees. The UN resolution will also extend the mandate of the organization's rapporteur on North Korean human rights, who has never been allowed to visit the military dictatorship.