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Date : December 23, 2014
UN Security Council Takes up N. Korea's Human Rights
   http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/north-korea-skipping-security-counc… [732]
UN Security Council Takes up N. Korea's Human Rights

The U.N. Security Council took up the issue of North Korea's bleak human rights situation for the first time Monday, a groundbreaking step toward possibly holding the nuclear-armed but desperately poor country and leader Kim Jong Un accountable for alleged crimes against humanity. North Korea quickly denounced the move.

The meeting appeared to be the first time that any country's human rights situation has been scheduled for ongoing debate by the U.N.'s most powerful body, meaning that the issue now can be brought up at any time. It also came amid U.S. accusations that North Korea was behind a devastating hacking attack.

International pressure has built this year on Pyongyang after a U.N.-backed inquiry found grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed under policies "established at the highest level of the State for decades." In a letter to Kim, the commission also warned that he could be held accountable.

China and Russia, which hold veto power as permanent council members, protested the boldest effort yet to confront Pyongyang over an issue it has long disdained.

The council has had North Korea's nuclear program on its agenda for years, but Monday's meeting opens the door to wider discussion of abuses alleged in the inquiry, including a harsh political prison camp system of up to 120,000 inmates. Pyongyang rejects the inquiry's findings but never allowed it into the country. China did not allow a visit to its border area with North Korea, to which thousands have fled.

SOURCE: ABC NEWS

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