North Korea says U.N. rights report based on 'faked' material

By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - North Korea said on Monday a United Nations report on its human rights record due to be issued later in the day was based on material faked by hostile forces backed by the United States, the European Union and Japan. A statement sent to Reuters from the Communist state's diplomatic mission in Geneva said that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea "categorically and totally rejects the report," drawn up by a three-member Commission of Inquiry. The text of the report was due to be released in Geneva at 1300 GMT. The two-page North Korean statement, in English, said the report was an "instrument of a political plot aimed at sabotaging the socialist system" and defaming the country. Rights violations listed in the document, forwarded to Pyongyang for comment by U.N. officials several weeks ago, "do not exist in our country," the statement declared. And it denounced the Commission as "a marionette running here and there in order to represent the ill-minded purposes of the string-pullers, such as the United States, Japan and the member states of the EU." The Commission was set up by the U.N. Human Rights Council a year ago at the request of the European Union, the United States and Japan under a resolution adopted by consensus at the 47-member state forum. The independent panel is chaired by jurists from Australia, Indonesia and Serbia. It was barred from North Korea and took evidence from refugees and defectors who have fled. The North Korean statement suggested the creation of the Commission and the report itself were part of an effort to change the country's current system of government under the cover of human rights concerns. North Korea would "continue to strongly respond to the end to any attempt of regime-change and pressure under the pretext of 'human rights protection'," it said. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, writing by Tom Miles, editing by Robert Evans and Jon Boyle)