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Mar 28, 2014

‘Mind your own business’, North Korea says of U.N. demand for justice

GENEVA (Reuters) – “Mind your own business,” North Korea’s ambassador told the U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday, moments before it voted to demand justice for Nazi-style atrocities in his country.

U.N. human rights investigators said last month security chiefs and possibly Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un himself should be tried for ordering systematic torture, starvation and killings, saying the crimes were “strikingly similar” to those committed during World War Two.

Mar 28, 2014

‘Mind your own business’, North Korea tells envoys demanding U.N. action

GENEVA (Reuters) – North Korea’s ambassador told U.N. rights diplomats to “mind your own business” before they voted on Friday to demand the country face international justice for crimes against humanity likened to Nazi-era atrocities.

U.N. investigators said last month security chiefs and possibly Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un himself should be tried for ordering systematic torture, starvation and killings, saying the crimes were “strikingly similar” to those committed during World War Two.

Mar 28, 2014

U.N. rights forum calls for use of armed drones to comply with law

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations called on all states on Friday to ensure that the use of armed drones complies with international law, backing a proposal from Pakistan seen as taking aim at the United States.

A resolution presented by Pakistan on behalf of co-sponsors including Yemen and Switzerland did not single out any state. The United States is the biggest drone user in conflicts including those in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Mar 27, 2014

U.N. watchdog urges Obama to curb drone use, surveillance

GENEVA (Reuters) – A U.N. human rights watchdog called on the Obama administration on Thursday to limit its use of drones targeting suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban militants and to curb U.S. surveillance activities at home and abroad.

U.S. drone strikes have led to excessive civilian casualties and unrestricted data collection has eroded the right to privacy, the U.N. Human Rights Committee said in its first report on Washington’s rights record since 2006.

Mar 27, 2014

U.N. launches Sri Lanka war crimes investigation

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations on Thursday launched an inquiry into war crimes allegedly committed by both Sri Lankan state forces and Tamil rebels during their conflict that ended in 2009, saying the government had failed to investigate properly.

“The international community has become increasingly concerned by the continued lack of progress in achieving reconciliation, justice and accountability for serious allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” Paula Schriefer, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state, told the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Mar 27, 2014

U.N. watchdog urges Obama to review deadly drone policy

GENEVA (Reuters) – A U.N. human rights watchdog called on the Obama administration on Thursday to review its use of drones to kill suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban militants abroad and reveal how it chose its targets.

In its first report on Washington’s rights record since 2006, it also called for the prosecution of anyone who ordered or carried out killings, abductions and torture under a CIA program at the time of President George W. Bush, and to keep a promise to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Mar 25, 2014

North Korea says hopes for positive talks with Japan

GENEVA (Reuters) – North Korea said on Tuesday that talks with Japan this month should include a demand for compensation for wartime Korean sex slaves and not only the issue of Japanese abducted decades ago which it considers closed.

But So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said he hoped that the “sensitive” high-level talks being held in Beijing on March 30-31, the first in more than a year, would yield “positive results” for the people of both countries.

Mar 21, 2014

U.N. rights investigator accuses Israel of ‘ethnic cleansing’

GENEVA (Reuters) – A U.N. human rights investigator accused Israel on Friday of “ethnic cleansing” in pushing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem and cast doubt that the Israeli government could accept a Palestinian state in the current climate.

He spoke against a backdrop of deadlocked peace talks and accelerating Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem which Palestinians say is dimming their hope of establishing a viable state on contiguous territory.

Mar 21, 2014

Syrians are main asylum seekers in rich world: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) – For the first time, Syrians were the biggest group seeking asylum in industrialized countries last year, as the impact of fighting in the country spread beyond the turbulent region, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.

A record number of asylum requests by Syrians and Russians in 2013 raised the total number received in 44 rich countries to it highest since 2001, the agency said. The total of 612,700 claims rose 28 percent from the year before.

Mar 18, 2014

EU, U.S. denounce China’s arrests of activists

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States and European Union (EU) accused China on Tuesday of using arrests and harassment to silence human rights activists, also voicing consternation at the death in custody of a prominent dissident.

During the debate at the U.N. Human Rights Council, China’s delegation responded that Cao Shunli had died in hospital last week of tuberculosis and that the Chinese people enjoyed the right to freedom of expression.