U.N. boosts inquiry into North Korea crimes against humanity

Mun Jong Chol, counselor at the North Korea mission to the U.N. in Geneva, talks with journalists aside of a meeting of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland March 24, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The top United Nations human rights body agreed on Friday to boost its investigation into widespread violations in North Korea with a view to documenting alleged crimes against humanity for future prosecution.

The 47-member state Geneva forum adopted a resolution, brought by Japan and the European Union (EU) and backed by the United States, on the final day of its four-week session without a vote. North Korea’s delegation boycotted the debate.

The U.N. human rights office in Seoul will be strengthened for two years to establish a central repository for testimony and evidence “with a view to developing possible strategies to be used in any future accountability process”, the text said.

China said it “dissociated” itself from the decision and called for dialogue and a “focus on the bigger picture” to help de-escalate tensions on the divided Korean peninsula.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay)