SEOUL, Feb. 27 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's foreign minister left for Switzerland on Saturday to attend a United Nations human rights meeting to be held starting next week, the North's state media said.
Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong left Pyongyang for Geneva to join the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Korean Central News Agency said without elaborating. The session is scheduled to be held on Feb. 29-March 24.
Ri is expected to deliver a speech at the 31st session of the U.N. meeting on March 1 where he will likely refute growing criticism against the North's widespread human rights violation, according to a diplomatic source.
It would be the second straight year that a North Korean top diplomat joins the U.N. session on human rights.
Pyongyang has long been labeled one of the worst human rights violators in the world. The communist regime does not tolerate dissent, holds hundreds of thousands of people in political prison camps and keeps tight control over outside information.
In December, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution for the second consecutive year that calls for referring the North to the International Criminal Court for human rights abuses.