North Korea atrocities on par with Nazis, Khmer Rouge: UN rights expert

[JURIST] Chairperson of the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in North Korea Michael Kirby on Monday compared the alleged crimes of the North Korean regime to those of Nazism, apartheid and the Khmer Rouge. In February UN human rights investigators released a 372-page report [JURIST report] detailing allegations of widespread crimes against humanity in North Korea that they believed merited prosecution within the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. The report included witness testimony from more than 80 victims and witnesses in South Korea, Japan, Britain and the US. The report recounted instances of government-endorsed murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortion, sexual violence, enforced disappearance and purposeful starvation, "the gravity, scale and nature" of which are allegedly without "parallel in the contemporary world." According to Kirby, the international community must respond [AFP report] to the alleged atrocities without delay. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly rejected the allegations as fabricated political subterfuge. In addition China formally dismissed [Reuters report] the UN's allegations Monday citing a lack of evidence.

The UN has sought to investigate and counter alleged human rights abuses in North Korea in the past. In February UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay stated there can no longer be any excuses for inaction [JURIST report] in North Korea following the release of the UN report. In September the UNHRC commission responsible for investigating potential human rights violations in North Korea reported widespread human rights abuses [JURIST report] occurring in the country. Last February Special Rapporteur Marzuki Darusman and a group of independent human rights experts announced their support for an international inquiry [JURIST report] into human rights violations in North Korea to bring awareness to the country's system of political prison camps. Also last February Darusman urged the UNHRC and the General Assembly to investigate human rights violations [JURIST report] in North Korea.

 

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