North Korea condemns UN human rights vote

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SEOUL, Nov 20 (Reuters) North Korea rejected a UN resolution that condemned its human rights record, a spokesman from its Foreign Ministry said today.

A UN General Assembly panel rebuked North Korea last Friday for human rights abuses. Members passed a draft resolution criticising the North for torture, public executions and rights violations by a vote of 91-21, with 60 abstentions.

''We categorically reject the recent 'human rights resolution' as a product of their anti-DPRK (North Korea) political plot,'' the North's official KCNA news agency cited the spokesman as saying.

''The US and other hostile forces are sadly mistaken if they think they can frighten us by debasing and slandering the inviolable dignity and sovereignty of the DPRK over its 'human rights issue','' the spokesman said.

North Korea often uses statements from Foreign Ministry spokesmen for some of its highest-level communications with the outside world.

The UN resolution criticises North Korea for a wide variety of abuses, such as ''torture and other cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,'' arbitrary detention, the death penalty for political reasons and the extensive use of forced labour as well as deplorable conditions in prison camps.

North Korea bristles at any criticism of its human rights record, saving some of its most heated rhetoric for those who challenge how the reclusive state treats its citizens.

Over the weekend, it said in an official media report that South Korea threatened peace on the peninsula by supporting the measure and casting its first ever UN vote to chastise its neighbour for human rights abuses.


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