'Unspeakable atrocities' perpetrated in North Korea
Horrific report form the United nations details dictatorial nation's crimes against humanity
"Unspeakable atrocities" alongside crimes against humanity have been committed in North Korea, in a detailed, harrowing report from the United Nations. Calling for an international criminal investigation, the U.N. demand is the most serious attempt to investigate grave and systematic rights violations in the authoritarian state.
The report documents evidence of systematic torture and other atrocities committed in the country and its political prison camps, where 80,000 to 120,000 people are estimated to be held.
A yearlong investigation of North Korean authorities' alleged rights violations, the report is 400 pages-plus long. The report documents evidence of systematic torture and other atrocities committed in the country and its political prison camps, where 80,000 to 120,000 people are estimated to be held.
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"These crimes against humanity entail extermination; murder; enslavement; torture; imprisonment; rape; forced abortions and other sexual violence; persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds; the forcible transfer of populations; the enforced disappearance of persons; and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation," the statement added.
North Korea has been described as being akin to "hell on earth." Repression and famine claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the country in the nineties.
North Korean defectors that have given testimony of atrocities are skeptical the report will have any effect on the regime in Pyongyang. The U.N. panel failed to gain access to the country and relied on camp survivors' horrific accounts at public hearings in Seoul, Washington, London and Tokyo.
"We totally reject the unfounded findings of the Commission of Inquiry regarding crimes against humanity. We will never accept that," a spokesman for North Korea's U.N. mission in New York told The Associated Press.
The report, North Korean officials say was an "instrument of political plot" and "a product of politicization of human rights on the part of EU and Japan in alliance with the U.S. hostile policy," a two-page statement sent to Reuters from its diplomatic mission in Geneva said.
"However, we will continue to strongly respond to the end to any attempt of regime change and pressure under the pretext of 'human rights protection,'" it said. "The DPRK (North Korea) once again makes it clear that the 'human rights violations' mentioned in the so-called 'report' do not exist in our country."
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