PARIS, March 22 - RAPSI. The UN Human Rights Council at its meeting on Thursday decided for the first time to examine allegations of prison camps, slave labor, food deprivation and other human rights abuses in North Korea, the AFP agency reports.

The 47-member council unanimously adopted a resolution to set up a special panel to investigate allegations of systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights in North Korea in order to guarantee that the guilty are called to account, especially if these alleged violations can be qualified as crimes against humanity.

The council has set up a three-member commission of inquiry and has called on Pyongyang to cooperate with the experts, including its special rapporteur Marzuki Darusman. North Korea previously refused to allow the council's rapporteur to enter the country.

In January 2013, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for conducting a comprehensive international investigation into the alleged decades of gross violations of human rights in North Korea.

She mentioned prison camps holding 200,000 people, possibly more, where scenes of rape, torture, executions and slave labor can be witnessed, all of which can be considered crimes against humanity.