N.Korea tries to deflect criticism

Source:AFP Published: 2014-10-9 0:23:01

North Korea sought to defuse criticism of its human rights record on Tuesday, as the European Union and Japan prepared a UN resolution harshly condemning Pyongyang.

North Korean officials told a rare UN briefing that there were no prison camps in their country, but rather reform-through-labor "detention centers."

"There are detention centers whereby people improve their mentality and look upon their wrongdoings and they reform through labor," said official Choe Myong-nam.

He said economic problems were bringing hardship to North Koreans who lacked "places to rest and enjoy a bath or something like that."

Japan and the EU are due to present a resolution to the UN General Assembly in the coming weeks that is expected to harshly condemn rights abuses in North Korea, based on the findings of a recent UN report.

The report, released in February, compiled the testimony of North Korean exiles and listed "extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence" in the nuclear-armed state.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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