GENEVA North Korea will boycott any session of the U.N. Human Rights Council that examines its record and will "never, ever" be bound by any such resolutions, its foreign minister said on Tuesday.
The announcement signalled further isolation of North Korea whose leadership has been accused by U.N. investigators of committing crimes against humanity and is poised to be hit with fresh U.N. sanctions for its nuclear programme.
Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong also accused the United States, Japan and South Korea of sending agents into his country to recruit criminals to become "so-called North Korean defectors".
"As a way out and in order to earn their living, they are compelled to continue to fabricate and sell groundless testimonies by trying to make them sound as shocking as possible," Ri said in a speech to the 47-member state forum.
South Korea rejected the accusations, saying that "questioning the credibility of the defectors' testimony is nothing but a denial of truth". Japan urged Pyongyang to take concrete actions to improve human rights at home.
"We shall no longer participate in international sessions singling out the human rights situation of the DPRK (North Korea) for mere political attack," Ri said.
Any resolutions adopted against the DPRK "will be none of our business and we will never ever be bound by them", he said.
Ri said the U.N. rights forum was marked by worsening "politicisation, selectivity and double standards", and criticised gun-related violence in the United States and Europe's migrant crisis.
Japan and South Korea are drafting a resolution for debate at the ongoing four-week session to renew the mandate of the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, currently Marzuki Darusman, and may seek further steps.
Darusman, in a report last month, asked the United Nations to officially notify North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that he may be investigated for crimes against humanity, in line with the findings of a landmark 2014 U.N. report.
The U.N. Security Council delayed until Wednesday a vote on a U.S.-Chinese drafted resolution that would dramatically expand U.N. sanctions on North Korea after Russia said it needed more time to review the text, diplomats said.
The expanded sanctions, if adopted, would require inspections of all cargo going to and from North Korea and blacklisting of North Koreans active in Syria, Iran and Vietnam.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Richard Balmforth)
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Updated Date: Mar 02, 2016 02:01 AM