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Diplomat refutes US allegations of North Koreans' 'forced labor' in Russia

July 06, 2017, 15:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has called the allegations "groundless"

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Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MOSCOW, July 6. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denounced as groundless and contradicting reality, allegations that North Koreans are being employed in “forced” Russian "labor camps" in a recent US report.

"Information on the alleged compulsory labor of North Koreans in the so-called labor camps in Russia presented in the Trafficking in Persons Report by the US Secretary of State is groundless," she said at a briefing on Thursday. The diplomat admitted that first she "found it hard to believe" that the report actually contained such information.

"These materials, no doubt, have the ultimate goal of using the human rights instrument to exert one-sided pressure on North Korea and damage bilateral relations between Russia and North Korea," Zakharova stressed. "The use of North Korean migrant laborers does not run counter to corresponding restrictions and resolution introduced by the UN Security Council’s decisions," she added. "The terms of employment and stay by North Korean laborers in our country complies with the Russian labor legislation."

The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman highlighted that the US also used migrant labor from neighboring countries. "The situation there is different regarding health certificates and checks [of migrant laborers.] The new president is trying to deal with this situation. We wish him success," the diplomat concluded.

The annual Trafficking in Persons Report by the US Secretary of State unveiled on June 27 contains accusations against the Russian government for failing to take necessary measures against modern human trafficking. According to the report, "the Government of Russia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so." The report states that the Russian government "maintained, and recently expanded, bilateral contracts with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) under which the DPRK operated labor camps on Russian soil and subjected thousands of North Korean workers to forced labor."

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