Japan won’t submit UN resolution condemning North Korean rights abuses

Japan used to submit joint resolutions with the UN against North Korea since 2008. (File/AFP)
Updated 13 March 2019
0

Japan won’t submit UN resolution condemning North Korean rights abuses

  • North Korea has repeatedly rejected accusations of rights abuses
  • Staunch US ally Japan is keeping a wary eye on the dialogue between the United States and North Korea

TOKYO: Japan has decided for the first time in years not to submit to the United Nations a joint resolution condemning North Korea’s human rights abuses, given US efforts to end North Korea’s weapons program and other factors, Japan said on Wednesday.
Japan and the European Union have submitted a motion condemning North Korea’s rights record to the United Nations every year since 2008. North Korea has repeatedly rejected accusations of rights abuses.
“The decision was made taking into consideration various factors comprehensively, such as results of the summit meeting between the United States and North Korea and the situation of Japan’s abduction issue,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held their second summit last month on US demands that North Korea dismantle its nuclear program in exchange for security guarantees and the lifting of sanctions.
But the talks in Vietnam broke down without agreement.
Staunch US ally Japan is keeping a wary eye on the dialogue between the United States and North Korea amid concern a deal between those old foes could lead to a scaling back of US commitments in East Asia.
Japan also worries that its crucial issue of the fate of its citizens abducted by North Korean agents will take a back seat to nuclear and missile issues in US-North Korean talks.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Trump had raised the issue of kidnapped Japanese citizens in his summit with Kim.
Abe has said Japan was committed to normalizing diplomatic relations with North Korea but several issues, including North Korea’s kidnapping of its citizens, must be resolved first.
North Korea admitted in 2002 it had kidnapped 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s to train as spies, and five of them returned to Japan. Japan suspects that hundreds more may have been taken.


Swiss parliament backs expelling militants to states that use torture

Updated 19 March 2019
0

Swiss parliament backs expelling militants to states that use torture

  • Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter told a debate in parliament that the government sympathized with proponents of the measure but its hands were tied
  • One of the convicted militants is a wheelchair-bound man found guilty in 2016 of planning terrorist attacks and helping Daesh operatives enter Switzerland

ZURICH: Switzerland’s parliament approved allowing convicted militants to be sent home to countries where they could face torture, leaving the government to decide how to implement the motion without breaking international law.
The Swiss constitution bans expelling people to countries where they might be subject to torture. But parlimament’s upper house on Tuesday narrowly adopted a motion allowing exceptions for foreign militants, as the Swiss lower house had done.
The motion stems from discontent among lawmakers over the ability of Iraqi militants convicted in Swiss courts of aiding Daesh to avoid being sent home because of the ban on exposing people to torture or other inhumane treatment.
Conservative critics say the ban has cost taxpayer money to care for convicted militants and angered citizens who say Switzerland should not have to host such people on its soil.
Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter told a debate in parliament that the government sympathized with proponents of the measure but its hands were tied.
“The security of the Swiss population has top priority but we also have to adhere to the limits of the rule of law.”
One of the convicted militants is a wheelchair-bound man found guilty in 2016 of planning terrorist attacks and helping Daesh operatives enter Switzerland. Freed from prison, he now lives in a transit center for asylum seekers and is fighting extradition.
Switzerland said this month it would not help bring home its own stranded citizens who had joined extremist forces in Syria and Iraq, insisting national security was paramount.
Switzerland is a signatory to the United Nations’ 1984 Convention against Torture, which bars expulsions of people to another state where there are substantial grounds for believing they would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
Iraq is also a party to the convention, but lacks laws or guidelines providing for judicial action when defendants allege torture or mistreatment, Human Rights Watch said in a report last year. It said torture was rampant in Iraq’s justice system.