New United Nations Resolution Over North Korean Human Rights Submitted
Michael Song, Oct. 31, 2015, 9:47 a.m.
A newly proposed U.N. resolution on North Korea's human rights situation recommends the communist nation accede to the International Labor Organization and comply with all labor related pacts, U.N. sources said Friday.
The European Union-proposed resolution, which has been submitted to the Third Committee of the U.N. General Assembly, calls for referring the North to the International Criminal Court for human rights abuses, just as last year's resolution did.
But this year's resolution moved a step forward in terms of urging the North to respect labor rights as it encourages Pyongyang to become a member of the ILO, the sources said. Last year's resolution only called for the North to cooperate with the organization. The inclusion of a call for an ILO membership came amid growing criticism of the North for exploiting tens of thousands of people laboring in foreign countries.
Marzuki Darusman, the U.N. special rapporteur on North Korea's human rights situation, said in a recent report to the U.N. General Assembly that Pyongyang earns between $1.2 billion and $2.3 billion per year from such worker exploitation.
About 50,000 North Koreans are believed to be toiling overseas, mainly in the mining, logging, textile and construction industries, the report said. Such workers earn on average $120-150 per month while employers pay significantly higher amounts to the North's government, it said.
They are also forced to work sometimes up to 20 hours per day, with only one or two rest days per month, and health and safety measures are often inadquate, the report said. Workers are given insufficient daily food rations, it said.