A Nobel prize-winning Holocaust survivor, an anti-Soviet dissident and a former European leader called for UN Security Council action on North Korea over its "egregious" human rights record.
Elie Wiesel, who survived the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and later won a Nobel Peace Prize, commissioned a 123-page report detailing North Korean atrocities with Vaclav Havel, a dissident playwright who later became Czech president, and a former prime minister of Norway, Kjell Magne Bondevik.
In the report, the three said the dispute over the country's nuclear program should not eclipse deadly political repression there, but rather the council should open another path to influence North Korea by taking on leader Kim Jong Il's regime over its treatment of the country's 23 million people.
While a unanimous October Security Council resolution imposed sanctions on North Korea over its Oct. 9 nuclear test, the report is "urging the United Nations to get involved in the North Korea issue also from the human rights perspective," Bondevik said by telephone from Norway.
"Nowhere else in the world today is there such an abuse of rights, as institutionalized as it is in North Korea," Bondevik told The Associated Press. "The leaders are committing crimes against humanity."
The report says that Security Council action is warranted under a resolution unanimously approved in April by the 15-nation council that endorsed a 2005 agreement aimed at preventing tragedies like the 1994 Rwanda genocide.