North Korea rights abuses move UN commission members to tears
An entire prison camp has disappeared. Were all its inmates executed? Shocking new revelations about oppression in North Korea
The head of a United Nations Commission on human rights abuses in communist North Korea has spoken of how he and other Commission members were moved to tears by testimony from victims.
Commission Chairman Michael Kirby, a HIgh Court judge from Australia, spoke of, “large-scale patterns of systematic and gross human rights violations” in North Korea. Of particular concern was evidence from satellite imaging that one prison camp had apparently been closed down while another had been scaled back.
A human rights observer said that this was not necessarily good news: there are fears that the entire population of the camp that has been closed down may have been executed.
Speaking more generally, Mr. Kirby said:
"Some testimony has been extremely distressing; testimony concerning the detention facilities, the lack of proper food in them, the fact that people are in the detention facilities who have committed no offense and no crime, according to their testimony, but who are simply there because of the notion of inter-generational guilt which is a feature of the system in North Korea,”
The Commission also heard that significant sections of the population of North Korea were permanently on the verge of famine.
The plight of women who had escaped North Korea to China, only to be turned into sex slaves and then returned to North Korea where they faced brutal punishment, was also highlighted.
Sonja Biserko, a member of the Commission said:
“About 80 percent of refugees are women. Not only do they undergo tough experiences, they very often have to accept to be trafficked and sold to Chinese men because they do not want to return. But once caught by Chinese and sent back home they undergo severe punishments, either sent to prisons or kept in detention centers and treated in the most horrible way."
The Black Book of Communism says North Korea has killed approximately 2 million of its citizens. The overall number of victims of communism in the 20th century is estimated by the Black Book's authors at 80-100 million.
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