Geneva: A scuffle broke out on Monday in the UN Human Rights Council and a man was detained by security after a North Korean diplomat said a critical report by an independent expert had been fabricated.
North Korea said it "roundly rejects this useless interpretation" which it said was "fabricated by hostile elements" and it called on the council not to renew the mandate of special rapporteur on human rights Marzuki Darusman.
As North Korean delegate So Se Pyong was leaving the hall a scuffle occurred and a man was held by UN security officials before being later released.
The dispute erupted when council members took note of the report by Darusman, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea.
The report covers the period from September 2011 to January 2012, when it said the situation in North Korea "continued to deteriorate."
After the report was presented, North Korea took the floor, followed by repesentatives of the European Union and Japan.
As the Japanese representative was about to finish his speech, the North Korean diplomat stood up to leave and the scuffle broke out. Some diplomats said South Korean parliamentarians tried to engage the North's envoy.
One of the men who was stopped by UN security shouted, "Remember Korean refugees."
Japan welcomed the report and urged North Korea to find a solution to "the issue of abduction of Japanese nationals".
Tokyo, a former coloniser of the Korean Peninsula, and Pyongyang have no formal diplomatic relations and their relations are often strained, even hostile.
France said "serious and massive violations of human rights" had taken place in North Korea and expressed "concern at the deteriorating human rights situation noted in the UN expert's report including sending many people to prison for political reasons".
The EU and the United States noted concern about the
report while Cuba, Zimbabwe and Syria said it was a Western
attempt to undermine North Korea.
The report said the human rights and humanitarian
situation in North Korea has deteriorated in recent months,
while adding that the leadership transition following Kim
Jong-Il's death in December was an opportunity for reform.
"The current transition may be a window of opportunity
for the country to adopt a reform process and address all
questions and concerns in relation to human rights," said
Kim Jong-Un took over as leader of the North Korean
regime after his father Kim Jong-Il's death on December 17
from a heart attack at the age of 69.
First Published: Monday, March 12, 2012, 23:31