Koreas-UN-human rights

SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) -- North Korea condemned the ruling party of South Korea for taking a leading role in the U.N. Human Rights Council's efforts to launch a probe into human rights abuses in the totalitarian state, threatening to "sweep away" the Saenuri Party.

The U.N. council adopted a resolution last week that paves the way for members to set up a commission of inquiry for the first time to look into human rights violations in North Korea.

The resolution is a "smear campaign against the human rights in the DPRK (North Korea), a desperate effort to evade a shameful defeat in the nuclear standoff with the DPRK and invent a pretext for invasion and pressure," said a spokesman for the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea.

The North's committee accused the U.S. and South Korea of "hurting the DPRK over its human rights," describing the U.N. resolution as "a challenge to its social system and dignity, and its army."

"We will mercilessly sweep away the group of the worst hooligans, including those of the 'Saenuri Party,' which took the lead in fabricating the U.N. resolution on human rights," the North's committee said.

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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