Updated: 02/28/2013 04:06 | By Agence France-Presse

UN rights council must hold N.Korea to account: EU

The UN's top human rights body must call North Korea to account over systematic abuses inflicted by the secretive regime on its people, the European Union said Wednesday.

UN rights council must hold N.Korea to account: EU

UN rights council must hold N.Korea to account: EU

"For too long, the population of the country has been subjected to widespread and systematic human rights violations and abuses," Ireland's Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore, whose country is at the helm of the EU, told a session of the UN Human Rights Council.

"For too long, the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has persistently refused to cooperate with the Human Rights Council," he said.

He said it was time for "increased international scrutiny" of the country's record.

Together with Japan, the 27-nation EU is preparing to submit a resolution to the council calling for an in-depth probe of the situation in North Korea.

Addressing the council on Tuesday, Japan's vice foreign minister Toshiko Abe qualified North Korea's record as "dire".

Gilmore hammered home the message on Wednesday.

"The EU is alarmed by the recurring reports of torture, summary executions, rape and other patterns of human rights violations in the country and especially in the prison camps where reportedly 200,000 people are being held," he said.

"There must be an investigation," he added.

Last month, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay decried the "deplorable" situation in North Korea, saying a commission of inquiry was "long overdue".

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