Commission of Inquiry tells of widespread human rights violations in North Korea

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The Commission of Inquiry into human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, says testimony it has points to patterns that may amount to widespread and systematic violations of human rights by the state.

In a report to the UN Human Rights Council the Commission says dozens of North Koreans in exile provided hour after hour of sobering testimony during its public and private hearings held in Seoul and Tokyo in August.

According to the Commission testimony provided included cases of torture, sexual violence, arbitrary detention, abduction and executions.

Commission Chairman Michael Kirby says they also heard of deliberate starvation and other serious abuses in detention facilities and the suffering of an entire population recurrently facing malnutrition.

"We heard from ordinary people who faced torture and imprisonment for doing nothing more than watching foreign soap operas or holding a religious belief. Women and men who exercised their human right to leave the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and were forcibly repatriated spoke about their experiences of torture, sexual violence, inhumane treatment and arbitrary detention. Family members of persons abducted from the Republic of Korea and Japan described the agony they endured ever since the enforced disappearance of their loved ones' at the hands of agents of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The Commission listened to political prison camp survivors who suffered through childhoods of starvation and unspeakable atrocities, as a product of the "guilt by association" practice, punishing other generations for a family member's perceived political views or affiliation."

The North Korean government has declined to recognize the Commission and has denied its members access to the country.

Its representative Kim Yong Ho said his country totally rejected the report saying it had no relevance to the protection and promotion of human rights and that it was fabricated by hostile forces aimed at sabotaging the country's socialist system.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 2.17

 

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