NORTH Korea’s leaders should be brought before an international court for a litany of crimes against humanity that include exterminating its population, the United Nations says.
A hard-hitting report on the nuclear-armed totalitarian state also strongly criticised its denial of basic freedoms of thought, expression and religion, and its abduction of citizens of neighbouring South Korea and Japan.
“Systemic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, its institutions and officials,’’ said the report by the Commission of Inquiry on North Korea set up in March 2013 by the UN Human Rights Council.
“In many instances, the violations of human rights found by the commission constitute crimes against humanity. These are not mere excesses of the state; they are essential components of a political system that has moved far from the ideals on which it claims to be founded,’’ the report said.
“The gravity, scale and nature of these violations revealed a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.’’
Commission chair Michael Kirby said the world could no longer plead ignorance as an excuse for a failure to act.
“At the end of the Second World War, so many people said: If only we had known … Now the international community does know,’’ he said.
How refreshing to see a UN body call a spade, a spade. The North Koreans basically live in a slave state with a hereditary absolute monarch. One well known NZer claimed that they were no ddfferent to places like Singapore, both being authoritarian states. I hope he reads this UN report.
North Korea’s 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 report said.
Not much they don’t do.
It condemned a system of throwing generations of the same family into prison camps under guilt-by-association rules, given testimony from former guards, inmates and neighbours.
One day North Koreans will be free, but it is a long way off.