In a tit-for-tat move, North Korea requested on Monday that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) add the issue of torture by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to its agenda. The request came ahead of a scheduled UNSC meeting next week to discuss alleged human rights abuses by the North Korean regime following a special U.N. commissioner’s report on human rights in North Korea released earlier this year. According to Reuters, the UNSC will meet to discuss human rights in North Korea on either December 22 or 23 after two-thirds of the UNSC’s 15 members signed a letter put forth by Australia calling for the issue to be added to the council’s agenda.
North Korea’s request comes after a worldwide backlash against a recent U.S. Senate report that detailed the CIA’s use of torture in interrogating detainees as part of the United States’ war on terror. The 528 page report, a summary of an original, classified 6,000+ page report, documented the U.S. intelligence agency’s use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and forced feedings, among other torture methods, on over 100 detainees — some of whom were later found to be innocent, having been detained on poor intelligence. The report also highlighted the agency’s lack of oversight and accountability.
In his letter requesting that the council investigate the United States, North Korea’s U.N. Ambassador Ja Song-nam said, “The so-called ‘human rights issue’ in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is politically fabricated and, therefore, it is not at all relevant to the regional or international peace and security.” He added, “The issue of CIA torture crimes committed by the United States needs to be urgently addressed in the Security Council since it threatens to have an imminent and destabilizing impact on the maintenance of international peace and security.”
North Korea formally requested that the UNSC establish “an ad-hoc investigation commission mandated to make a thorough probe into the CIA torture crimes and hold those responsible to account for their most serious human rights violations.”
North Korea wouldn’t be the first Asian regime that consistently faces U.S. criticism on its human rights record using the CIA report to point fingers right back. China also took the opportunity of the report’s release to rebut U.S. criticisms of China’s own human rights practices. Additionally, China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi recently told reporters that his country opposed adding the issue of human rights in North Korea to the council’s agenda: “The situation on the Korean peninsula is so complex and so precarious (that) what the council should do is work towards maintaining peace and stability on Korean peninsula and not to do something on the contrary,” he told reporters earlier this week.