Following a year-long investigation, the widespread human rights violations in North Korea were formally recognized today by the UN’s Commission of Inquiry on North Korea. We’ve heard personal stories of the atrocities outlined in the report from North Korean defectors. This long overdue recognition should spur the international community to increase support for the North Korean people as they drive change inside their country.
The report, coming in at over 300 pages, is a lot to absorb.
Here are the key things you need to know:
- The crimes against humanity occurring in North Korea are unparalleled in the contemporary world. They include murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, enforced disappearance, and knowingly causing prolonged starvation.
- The unspeakable atrocities being committed against inmates of the political prison camps resemble the horrors of camps that totalitarian States established during the twentieth century. These camps and public executions serve as the ultimate means to terrorize the population into submission.
- The regime has used food as a means of control over the population and has evaded reforms to the economy and agriculture for fear of losing its control over the population.
- Repatriated refugees are systematically subjected to persecution, torture, prolonged arbitrary detention and, in some cases, sexual violence, including invasive body searches.
- Repatriated women who are pregnant are regularly subjected to forced abortions, and babies born to repatriated women are often killed.
- The North Korean people are denied access to outside information. Access to television and radio broadcasts, as well as to the Internet, is severely restricted, and all media content is heavily censored.
- The North Korean people are denied freedom of movement. They are not allowed to travel within the country without official authorization. This policy is driven by the desire to maximize the regime’s control, at the expense of social and familial ties.
So what is going to happen now?
- Some North Korean people will hear of the report through foreign radio broadcasts or word of mouth and they will draw hope from the fact that the international community is focusing on their human rights.
- The report will help the international community understand the urgent need to mobilize more support for the North Korean people.
What is outlined in this report is exactly why we do the work we do. The North Korean people are changing their country, and the world’s support can help accelerate those changes. While outside focus on North Korea has typically gone to Kim Jong-un, the nuclear issue, and even Rodman’s bizarre visits, we hope that this report serves as a wake up call for the world to focus more on the challenges facing the North Korean people.
Next week we’re mobilizing five teams across North America to give insight on what’s happening in North Korea. If you want to learn more about what these facts mean and find ways to get involved on this issue, book a LiNK event.