NK human rights-UN

BRUSSELS, March 21 (Yonhap) -- A United Nations body voted Thursday to embark on a formal investigation into human rights violations in North Korea, a move viewed as largely symbolic but significant in sending a message to Pyongyang.

In a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the U.N. Human Rights Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a three-member Commission of Inquiry on North Korean Human Rights for a one-year operation.

The resolution condemns human rights abuses known to be prevalent in North Korea, including torture in political prison camps.

"This long awaited inquiry will help expose decades of abuse by the North Korean government," Julie de Rivero, advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

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