On Tuesday, I attended a meeting in New York on Grave Injustices in North Korea to further highlight the appalling human rights record of the North Korean regime.
A UN Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Human Rights in North Korea – led by eminent Australian Michael Kirby – concluded that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been, andare being,committed by the North Korean government against its own people.
This is a finding the international community cannot ignore. It has a responsibility to protect the North Korean people.
The Commission concluded that the gravity, scale and nature of these human rights violations reveal a State that has no parallel in the contemporary world.
It found that the North Korean regime uses public executions and enforced disappearances to terrorise its population, and that it holds up to 120,000 of its citizens in gulags where prisoners are killed through deliberate starvation, torture and forced labour.
The testimonies of the witnesses to the Commission of Inquiry provide a catalogue of horrors in North Korea; with stories of torture, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, the murder of children in front of their parents, enslavement, persecution, disappearances, the denial of food and death by starvation.
The Commissionconcluded that in many instances,the regime's human rights violations constitute crimes against humanity.
At the meeting a former North Korean, Shin Dong-hyuk, spoke of his harrowing ordeal at the hands of the brutal regime.
The event also underscored the commitment to hold to account those most responsible for such crimes, which warrant the attention of the International Criminal Court.
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