11/17/2006, 00.00
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Seoul to vote for UN resolution on human rights violations in North Korea

For the first time ever, South Korea will join the international community to condemn human rights abuses by Pyongyang. The change was likely due to the election of a South Korean, Ban Ki-moon, to the UN's top job.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – For the first time ever, South Korea had decided to vote on a resolution before the UN General Assembly critical of North Korea's human rights, this according to a government official. The fact that a South Korean, Ban Ki-moon, will be the next secretary-general of the United Nations might have led Seoul to change its stance, which formerly looked irreversible in light of the continuation of its economic engagement policy with Pyongyang.

"The government hopes this decision will help promote the universal value of human rights in North Korea,"' said Chu Kyu-ho, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Member states will be called to vote next Tuesday. Although the resolution is not legally binding, it "is considered an expression of the United Nations' political willingness to address North Korea's human rights record".

It would condemn the daily violations to human, social, civil and economic rights by the regime led by Kim Jong-il and call on Pyongyang to extend its full cooperation to the UN special rapporteur to the country.

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