North Korea asks UN Security Council to discuss CIA torture

North Korea asks UN Security Council to discuss CIA torture
The Central Intelligence Agency logo is displayed in the lobby of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, USA.

UNITED NATIONS, United States - North Korea on Monday urged the UN Security Council to urgently discuss CIA torture revelations as it sought to block an Australian-led bid to address Pyongyang's rights record at the top UN body.

Ambassador Ja Song Nam called the "torture crimes" carried out "worldwide in the most brutal medieval forms" by the US Central Intelligence Agency as "the gravest human rights violations in the world."

In a letter to the Chadian president of the council, the envoy said the US interrogation techniques detailed in a Senate report released last week should be discussed with a view to setting up a commission to investigate and prosecute those responsible.

The Pyongyang request came as 10 of the 15 members of the council were pushing for a formal meeting to be held on the issue of North Korea's rights violations, a move opposed by China and Russia.

The 10 ambassadors cited the findings of a commission of inquiry report on North Korea that was released in February, and argued that Pyongyang's rights violations posed a threat to international peace and security.

The year-long inquiry heard testimony from North Korean exiles and documented a vast network of harsh prison camps holding up to 120,000 people along with cases of torture, summary executions and rape.

Russia and China have argued that Pyongyang's rights violations should be discussed at the UN Human Rights Council, and not at the Security Council.

Chad, which holds this month's council presidency, has agreed to hold a meeting, but discussions were ongoing about whether the debate would take place behind closed doors.

Diplomats said they expected the council to discuss North Korea this week just as the UN General Assembly is due to vote on a resolution that calls for referring Pyongyang to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 111 to 19, with 55 abstentions by a General Assembly committee last month.

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