Diplomats defend, deplore North Korea’s human rights record

GENEVA (AP) — North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations has defended his country’s human rights record and likened economic sanctions over its nuclear program to “crimes.”

Ambassador Han Tae Song said in Geneva that North Korea’s government made a “devoted effort for the good of the people” and “human rights violations, in whatever form, are intolerable.”

North Korea’s human rights record was discussed Thursday as part of a U.N.-backed process known as the Universal Period Review, which examines the rights records of all countries roughly every five years.

The top U.S. envoy in Geneva alleged North Korea’s rights record “is deplorable and has no parallel in the modern world.”

U.S. Charge d’Affaires Mark Cassayre said 80,000 to 120,000 people were held in North Korean political prisoner camps.

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