U.N. point man on N. Korean human rights urges halt to rising hostility on Korean Peninsula

SEOUL-- The U.N. point man on the North Korean human rights situation made an urgent appeal" on Wednesday to de-escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula as U.S. military assets were deployed in the region to counter North Korea's growing provocations.

"The recent rise in conflict rhetoric is worsening already critical human rights challenges in North Korea," Tomas Ojea Quintana, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea, said in a news release by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"At a time the international community needs to come together to protect the rights of people in the DPRK (North Korea), we are instead witnessing a rise in incitement to armed confrontation," he said, referring to the North's recent threats of military actions and the deployment of the U.S. aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the waters off the peninsula.

"Statements that feed hatred and polarization do nothing but undermine opportunities to improve the dire situation of ordinary North Koreans," he said, indicating that the heightened tension is already having an impact on the people.

"The onus is on all of us to lower tensions and restore dialogue, including on human rights," he said. "But U.N. member states, in particular the DPRK and other governments involved in current hostilities, have to realize the great responsibility on their shoulders to preserve peace and stability in accordance with the U.N. Charter."

In the release, the special rapporteur also pointed out that North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests since 2006 and continues to carry out long-range missile launches on a regular basis despite the international and unilateral sanctions the country is facing.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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