North Korea has blamed the “evil” United States for triggering Europe’s worst refugee crisis since WW II.
In a lengthy screed denouncing “intolerable” criticism of Pyongyang’s human rights record, a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman argued that the US should be the real focus of censure.
“The US is an evil empire… committing all sorts of human rights abuses,” the spokesman said in a statement carried by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency on September 24.
As an example, the spokesman cited the plight of the hundreds of thousands of refugees from war zones like Syria and Afghanistan who are seeking shelter in European countries.
“It is the US which caused the serious refugee issue sweeping the whole of Europe,” he said.
“As the US started wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and other parts of the world, and fostered civil wars under the pretexts of ‘war on terrorism’ and establishment of ‘democracy,’ refugees have been on a sharp increase,” he added.
North Korea, by contrast was a “cradle of happy life”, the spokesman said.
The statement was a response to a recent discussion of North Korean rights violations at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
A report published in 2014 by a special UN commission accused North Korea of committing human rights violations “without parallel in the contemporary world”.
North Korea’s human rights record is being discussed by the UN Security Council, despite opposition from China and Russia.
It comes days after the UN General Assembly voted in favor of referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity.
North Korea has meanwhile reportedly suffered a large-scale internet outage.
Last week, the US said North Korea was behind a cyber attack on Sony Pictures.
It is the first time the UN Security Council has discussed the country’s human rights record.
US envoy Samantha Power described North Korea as “a living nightmare”, and said a UN report showed the country’s brutality.
The report by a UN human rights inquiry in February said that ordinary North Koreans faced “unspeakable atrocities”, including “deliberate starvation, forced labor, executions, torture” and political repression.
North Korea refused to co-operate with the report and condemned its findings. It is not attending the Security Council meeting.
Speaking on December 22, North Korean envoy Kim Song told AFP: “We cannot recognize the Security Council meeting. Its mandate is not human rights.”
China and Russia also attempted to block the subject from being discussed at the Security Council. However, they were overruled by other members.
Meanwhile, a US-based Internet performance company said that North Korea was experiencing severe internet outages.