In January 2013, U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay called for an international investigation into what she said may be crimes against humanity in North Korea, including torture and executions of political prisoners held in shadowy camps.
North Korea is believed to house over 200,000 prisoners in a network of prison camps. These prisoners are often convicted and sentenced without due process, or on false allegations. Many people who have escaped from the camps, or survived the full term of their sentence, report that extreme abuses of human rights are taking place in the camps. There is little or no medical care and insufficient food for prisoners, and they are used as slave labor. Executions are performed for little to no reason, often summarily.
North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations responded to Pillay’s charges: “We totally reject the news release. Our country doesn’t have such kind of crimes.” He suggests that we examine the record of the “king of human rights abuses, the United States.” The North Korean government has consistently denied the crimes committed in its prison camps, despite evidence to the contrary and the testimony of those who have escaped the country.
Stephanie Nebehay, “UN’s Pillay says may be crimes against humanity in NKorea,” Reuters, January 14, 2013. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/14/korea-north-rights-idUSL6N0AJ3OC20130114
Student Researcher: Devin Wilson, College of Marin
Faculty evaluator: Susan Rahman, College of Marin