N. Korea accuses U.S. of ‘double standard’ toward human rights

North Korea on Thursday denounced the United States over what it claimed to be a "double standard" toward human rights issues, calling on the country's special envoy to visit the Middle East rather than "scheming" against the North. The North made the accusation in a commentary carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as Julie Turner, the U.S. special representative for North Korean human rights, visited South Korea earlier this week to discuss rights issues in the reclusive country. "If you are a true champion of human rights, go to the Middle East," the KCNA said, stressing the most urgent human rights issue in the international community is protecting the lives of the people in Gaza. The North accused the U.S. of overlooking the situation in Gaza by siding with Israel and said Washington is using human rights as a "tool for invasion and interference in domestic affairs." The North emphasized the importance of defending human rights with sovereignty and power, saying it would have suffered the m isfortune of Palestinians had it not built up its self-defense power. Turner's visit to South Korea came on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the release of a landmark U.N. report on North Korea's human rights abuses that held the North Korean regime accountable for "widespread, systematic and gross" violations. Source: Yonhap News Agency