SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea, rattled by the United Nations' condemnation of its human rights record, urged the Security Council on Wednesday to censure the United States for its use of "inhuman torture" methods.
Reacting to the release of a scathing US Senate report detailing the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA's) brutal treatment of Al-Qaeda suspects, Pyongyang said the revelations posed a major test of the Security Council's credibility.
Discussing North Korea's rights record while "shutting its eyes" to rights violations by one of its permanent members, would confirm the council's "miserable position" as a "tool for US arbitrary practices", a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
As well as the "inhuman torture practised by the CIA", the spokesman cited the recent killings of black suspects by white police officers as another "despicable" strike against America's human rights record. "If (the Security Council) wants to discuss the human rights issue, it should ... call into question the human rights abuses rampant in the US," he said.
The remarks, carried by the North's official KCNA news agency, are part of a concerted effort by North Korea to ward off further censure at the United Nations.
The Security Council is expected to meet this month on North Korea's rights record, following a proposal to refer Pyongyang to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on possible charges of crimes against humanity charges.
The proposal was included in a landmark resolution adopted in a UN General Assembly committee last month.
Drafted by Japan and the European Union, the resolution drew heavily on the work of a UN inquiry which concluded in February that the North was committing rights abuses "without parallel in the contemporary world".
Pyongyang has rejected the inquiry and condemned the resolution, saying both were initiated and controlled by the US in a politically motivated effort to humiliate the regime of leader Kim Jong Un.
Although China and Russia would block any Security Council move to refer Pyongyang to the ICC, North Korea was rattled by the adoption of the strongly worded UN resolution and has threatened "catastrophic consequences" for its supporters.
In his remarks on Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said the inquiry's report was "full of prejudice and lies" whipped up the US to justify an eventual military invasion of North Korea.