North Korea rejects UN 'smear campaign' on rights

SEOUL - Pyongyang Thursday rejected a United Nations resolution condemning human rights abuses by North Korea, denouncing it as a smear campaign led by the United States.

A foreign ministry spokesman said that no matter how ferocious the campaigns by "hostile forces", they would not shake the "faith in socialism firmly rooted in people's minds".

"The resolution circus... is a typical smear campaign repeated every year by the US and sycophants hostile to us," the spokesman was quoted as saying by Pyongyang's official news agency.

"We, as always, strongly reject the resolution, a summation of double standards in human rights issues, which is full of falsehood and fabrications."

Record numbers of countries voted Monday in favour of UN General Assembly resolutions condemning human rights abuses in Iran, North Korea and Myanmar.

The North Korea vote was passed with 112 votes in favor, 16 against and 55 abstentions.

The assembly raised "very serious concern" over the "torture" and "inhuman conditions of detention, public executions, extra-judicial and arbitrary detention" in North Korea.

It also condemned the "existence of a large number of prison camps and the extensive use of forced labour". An estimated 200,000 political prisoners are languishing in North Korea's six camps, which the government denies even exist, according to the Citizens' Alliance for North Korean Human Rights.

The special UN rapporteur on North Korean human rights, Marzuki Darusman, is visiting South Korea this week to gather information. The North refused to admit Darusman and his predecessor.