September 18, 2014
'Mind your own business', North Korea says of UN demand for justice
"Mind your own business," North Korea's ambassador told the UN Human Rights Council today, moments before it voted to demand justice for Nazi-style atrocities in his country.
UN 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.
The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted a resolution, brought by Japan and the European Union and backed by the United States and South Korea, calling for the UN Security Council to seek accountability for those responsible.
Thirty states voted in favor, six including China and Russia were against, with 11 abstaining. North Korea, also known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), has observer status with no vote.
US deputy assistant secretary of state Paula Schriefer interrupted North Korean Ambassador So Se Pyong three times, demanding he answer the allegations rather than criticizing the records of other countries.
"In the DPRK, we have a proverb saying 'Mind your own business'," So said, prompting a loud laugh in the hall, "which means that one needs to see his or her face in the mirror to check how nasty it is before talking about the others."
"No person on earth would be so stupid as to keep the door open to a gangster who is attacking with a sword and even cooperate with him. Cooperation can never be compatible with confrontation," So said.
The resolution recommends "that the report of the COI (commission of inquiry) be submitted through the General Assembly to the Security Council for its consideration and appropriate action, including through consideration of referral of the human rights situation to the appropriate international criminal justice mechanism".