North Korea rejects human rights probe backed by Obama

North Korea on Friday officially rejected a U.S.-backed United Nations investigation into its human rights record.

The U.N. expert tasked with the mission told reporters in Switzerland that Kim Jong Un's regime has said it won't cooperate with the probe, Agence France-Presse reports. The mission still hopes to visit the secretive country next month, however.

The U.N.'s request for assistance was met with “a polite but negative response,” the head of the new U.N. Commission of Inquiry, former Australian Judge Michael Kirby, told reporters in Geneva.

“We will be sending a request today [for access] ... and we are hopeful that that will have a positive response.”

The U.N. Human Rights Council voted in March to set up the commission after a report by its North Korea monitor, former Indonesian Attorney General Marzuki Darusman, accused the country of “a string of violations including torture, arbitrary detention and depriving the population of food,” according to AFP. 

The Obama administration and Congress have been pressing the U.N. for such a probe into North Korea's “grave, widespread and systematic violations of human rights” since the country conducted its third nuclear test in February.

North Korea is widely believed to keep between 150,000 and 200,000 political prisoners and their families in internment camps around the country.

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