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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Gambia votes against referring North Korea to ICC

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The Gambia had abstained in the third committee vote held earlier by the UN General Assembly. The General Assembly held a plenary session at the UN in New York and adopted a resolution recommending “referring of the North Korea’s human rights situation to the International Criminal Court of Justice” in a vote of 116 in favour, 20 against, and 53 abstaining.

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Compared with a vote (111 in favour, 19 against and 55 abstained) at the third committee on human rights held on November 18, those who voted for and against increased five votes and one vote, respectively, while those who abstained decreased by two this time. 

The resolution on North Korea’s human rights violation has been adopted 10 consecutive years since 2005. However, this year’s resolution is considered the strongest. The latest resolution has recommended that the UN refers North Korea’s human rights situation to ICC, and imposes sanctions against those responsible, in compliance with a report by the UN Commission of Inquiry. 

The UN Security Council on Monday adopted North Korea’s human rights issue as an agenda and for the first time ever began discussing referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its human rights record after voting to over-rule member China’s objection.

Of the council’s 15 members, 11 voted in favour of adding North Korea to the agenda, two against and two abstained. Russia and China were the members who voted against adding the isolated country to the agenda while Chad and Nigeria abstained. Veto powers, however, could not be used in this vote, which was a procedural one.

North Korean diplomat Kim Song accused Western members of the Council on Monday of being hypocrites, saying “turning a blind eye” to acts of torture and spying committed by the US. He told the Associated Press his country “totally rejects” the Council’s decision to discuss its rights record, as the council’s mandate was security and not human rights.

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