Will United Nations Do Anything About North Korea?

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KOREA, Nov 18 – After nearly a year of unprecedented attention given to allegations of widespread abuse and torture within North Korea, one question is being repeatedly asked: When will the international community do anything about it? On Tuesday, a United Nations General Assembly committee is expected to consider a draft resolution on North Korea’s human rights abuses.

The vote is merely a recommendation, as the General Assembly does not have the power to refer the regime or its young leader Kim Jong Un to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity (ICC). That authority lies only with the U.N. Security Council, a 15-member body charged with maintaining global security. But the five permanent members at the core of the Security Council, including China and Russia, wield veto powers. China is likely to use its veto as its officials have repeatedly called efforts to send North Korea’s leadership to the ICC as “not helpful.” Here’s a reminder of where we are so far.

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