UN-NK human rights

SEOUL, March 19 (Yonhap) -- The U.N. Human Rights Council is poised to adopt a resolution this week to establish its first commission of inquiry into widespread human rights violations in North Korea, a Seoul diplomatic source said Tuesday.

The U.N. council is expected to vote on the resolution on Thursday (Geneva time) during its ongoing 22nd session, which will last until Friday, and the planned commission is expected to start its activities from June, the source said on the condition of anonymity.

The inquiry mechanism resolution would be adopted if half of the 47-member council approves it. Only a few members, including Venezuela, have explicitly opposed it, according to the source.

Human rights advocacy groups have long called for international efforts to stop genocide and crimes against humanity which they claim are being systematically carried out by North Korean authorities.

Activists said North Korea was holding thousands of political prisoners in at least six facilities where they face extrajudicial executions, torture and forced labor.

The communist country has been accused of human rights abuses for decades, ranging from holding hundreds of thousands of political prisoners to torture and public executions. Pyongyang has flatly denied the accusations, calling them a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime.

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