North Korea: Human Rights Complaints Are U.S. ‘Racket’ to Justify Sanctions

South Korea North Korea Nuclear Site In this March 27, 2018 file photo, A man watches a TV screen showing file footages of U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. Increased …
AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

North Korea’s state-run Rodong Sinmun complained about the “human rights racket” on Monday, charging that the United States and its “vassal forces” have fabricated complaints about the appalling state of human rights in North Korea to justify ongoing sanctions and trick the North Korean people into turning against their government.

Rodong Sinmun fulminated against what it described as lies “cooked up” by the evil Americans and propagated by “egging despicable human scum” at international organizations.

According to the North Korean paper, the goal is for the U.S. to “justify its hostile policy toward the DPRK and undermine the single-minded unity of the army and people of the DPRK.” DPRK is North Korea’s name for itself.

The editorial goes on to explain that it is impossible for North Korea to have any sort of human rights problem because the “genuine sovereign rights of the popular masses are guaranteed by law.”

“There can never exist a ‘human rights issue’ in the DPRK” because it is a “socialist system centered on the popular masses,” Rodong Sinmun explained.

This could be part of Pyongyang’s attempt to set the stage for dictator Kim Jong-un’s upcoming summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and U.S. President Donald Trump, should any or all of them actually occur. Such outbursts from North Korean media could be taken as a way of signaling that human rights will not be on the negotiating table, even though the United Nations has called for human rights to be a major component of any nuclear talks with North Korea.

Pyongyang could also be lashing out at the U.N. Human Rights Council for passing a resolution last week “condemning North Korea’s horrific rights abuses and supporting efforts to bring leading officials in Pyongyang to account,” as John Fisher of Human Rights Watch put it.

“The overwhelming support for this resolution shows the resounding commitment of the international community to ensure that Kim Jong-un and North Korea’s rights-abusing authorities don’t escape justice,” Fisher said.

The U.N. resolution in question essentially strengthened the office of the human rights rapporteur in Seoul and extended its mandate, adding experts on international criminal justice to its staff and sending a clear signal that North Korea’s offenses will not be forgotten during denuclearization talks.

The South Korean government welcomed the resolution and pledged to “make continued efforts together with the international community to effectively improve North Korea’s human rights situation.”

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