North Korea urged to reverse 'abysmal' rights record

North Korea urged to rev

October 23, 2009 02:52

A UN human rights investigator urged North Korea on Thursday to take immediate steps to reverse its "abysmal" rights record by providing food to more than 8 million hungry citizens, halting public executions, and ending the punishment of people who seek asylum abroad and are sent back. In the longer term, Vitit Muntarbhorn urged authorities in the reclusive communist nation to replace their "military first" policy with a "people first" policy. He also called on the rulers to guarantee security and personal freedoms by dismantling the country's pervasive surveillance system, developing an independent judiciary, and instituting checks and balances against the abuse of power.

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