Tuesday, February 18, 2014

North Korean Human Rights Abuses

The UN’s commission on human rights in North Korea, which gathered evidence for almost a year, including often harrowing testimony at public hearings in Seoul, Tokyo, London and Washington, said there was compelling evidence of torture, execution and arbitrary imprisonment, deliberate starvation and an almost complete lack of free thought and belief. Among more than 80 witnesses, along with 240 people who gave confidential interviews to avoid reprisals against relatives in North Korea, were escapees from the country's feared prison camps, including one who reported seeing a female prisoner forced to drown her newborn baby because it was presumed to have a Chinese father. 

The near-400-page main report concludes there is overwhelming evidence that crimes against humanity have been, and are still being, committed within the hermetic nation. It says: "These are not mere excesses of the state: they are essential components of a political system that has moved far from the ideals on which it claims to be founded. The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world." 

Holding up a copy of the report, Michael Kirby, an Australian retired judge who is the chair of the three-strong panel set up by the UN commissioner on human rights said other nations could not say of North Korea, that they did not know the extent of the crimes: "Now the international community does know. There will be no excusing a failure of action because we didn't know. It's too long now. The suffering and the tears of the people of North Korea demand action." 

Sketches submitted by former political prisoner Kim Kwang-il to the UN inquiry into human rights abuses – and re-posted in UK’s The Guardian on February 17, 2014.: 


Text translation: ‘Pigeon position interrogation’  

'Crane, airplane and car interrogation positions'

'Entry to the prison’ 

‘Eating rats and snake out of hunger’ 

‘Pump interrogation – ordered to do hundred sit-ups’


‘Morgue where rats are eating human eyes, noses and ears’ 

Dead bodies taken to the crematorium

Solitary prison cell punishment. Catching rats in the solitary cell.

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