United Nations members voted decisively on Tuesday for a groundbreaking resolution that condemns North Korea for human rights abuses and for the first time recommends the prosecution of its leaders for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.
The North Koreans reacted exactly as you'd expect them to react:
Outraged and humiliated in a vote that was shown live on the United Nations website, North Korea’s representative called the resolution an insidious plot to destabilize the country by its enemies, notably the United States. The representative, Choe Myong-nam, said the North might conduct more nuclear weapons tests in response.
Mr. Choe, a Foreign Ministry adviser on United Nations and human rights issues, also said the resolution, written by the European Union and Japan and co-sponsored by 62 members, including the United States, was based on a “compilation of groundless political accusations and contradictions.”
Presented at the General Assembly committee that oversees human rights issues, the resolution was the outcome of a devastating report on North Korean repression conducted by a United Nations panel of experts and published in February.
The resolution passed by a 111-to-19 vote, with 55 abstentions. Approval at a plenary General Assembly session is a formality.
Among the no votes, predictably, were China and Russia. Both have seats, and the power of veto, on the Security Council - and since only the Security Council can refer cases to the International Criminal Court, that could well be that.
But the case has been made, in the public forum of the UN.
“Today was a very significant day, and yes, the North Koreans are very genuinely upset over it,” said Sue Mi Terry, a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute and a former intelligence officer with the United States government, who specializes in North Korea. “Obviously, Kim Jong-un has a thin skin.”
Ms. Terry said a Security Council vote on a referral to the International Criminal Court would put both Russia and China in awkward positions. “If they want to be seen defending the human rights record of the worst human rights offender on the planet, let them do so in public and pay a price,” she said.
LAHORE: Police said on Saturday that a man had killed his 22-year-old daughter for honour late on Friday in Samanabad.
They said Shahzada Shahid Pervaiz, a resident of Samanabad, killed her after a heated argument. Police said he had knifed her. They said she was taken to Services Hospital where she had succumbed to her injuries. Police said the body had been sent to a mortuary for autopsy.
They said Pervaiz had surrendered to police and produced the knife he had used to kill her. Police said a case had been registered against him on the complaint of his wife.
Pervaiz said he had no remorse. He said he had been compelled to kill her as she wanted to marry for love. A forensic surgeon at Mayo Hospital said the deceased had been stabbed in the stomach, chest and shoulders. He said the body had been returned to the family of the deceased for burial. The complainant refused to speak to The Express Tribune regarding the incident. A neighbor said the deceased had wanted to marry a teacher of hers. The deceased was pursuing a degree in sociology at the Punjab University.
The increasing, um, eccentricity of Turkey's Erdogan becomes yet harder to ignore:
Muslims discovered the Americas more than three centuries before Christopher Columbus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.
He made the claim during a conference of Latin American Muslim leaders in Istanbul, pointing to a diary entry in which Columbus mentioned a mosque on a hill in Cuba.
Mr Erdogan also said "Muslim sailors arrived in America in 1178".
He said he was willing to build a mosque at the site Columbus identified.
The Turkish president - whose AK Party is rooted in political Islam - gave no further evidence to back up his theory, instead stating: "Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th Century."
The BBC report manages, commendably, to keep a straight face:
Columbus is widely believed to have discovered the Americas in 1492, while trying to find a new route to India.
But in a disputed article published in 1996, historian Youssef Mroueh said Columbus' entry was proof that Muslims had reached the Americas first and that "the religion of Islam was widespread".
However many scholars believe the reference is metaphorical, describing an aspect of the mountain that resembled part of a mosque.
No Islamic structures have been found in America that pre-date Columbus.