New reports have revealed that rape has been used as a method of torture in North Korean prison camps, where victims are punished further with the delivery of a death sentence, in order to keep their violations private.
Satellite images have confirmed the growth of the inmate population, and ironically, they have also made buoyant North Korea’s disconnect with the world, as it becomes illuminated by a lack of light, due to the country’s struggle to upkeep sufficient power.
Amnesty International have come forward with reports of rape being used as torture. However, the violation of human rights does not cease there. After being frequently raped, victims would also lose their life, as a way to conceal their inhumane treatment, and stop the “secret” from spreading. A former security guard from one of the North’s prison camps, said that this occurred in the majority of prison camps, after women were forced to offer their “services” for the night.
He spoke about the methods used to execute prisoners. They would be forced to dig their own graves. After they had successfully done this, guards would kill them with blows to the neck with a hammer. He was also witness to the strangling of prisoners, who would later be beaten to death using wooden sticks.
Prisoners are also subjected to hard labor. This consists of 10 to 12 hours of strictly constructed target work each day, which has to be performed whilst suffering from undernourishment, as they receive near-starvation rations.
A former prisoner, who has chosen to keep their identity concealed for welfare purposes, described to Amnesty how targets would not always be met, because inmates were too weak and hungry to carry out the strenuous tasks, which would equate to harsh penalties. Food quotas would be reduced on an already less than basic ration system, and also physical beatings would be dished out.
Amnesty International have been investigating human rights for nearly 50 years. However, with the shocking revelations of North Korea’s prison camps, and their treatment towards prisoners, such as rape being used as a mechanism of torture, followed by a further punishment of death, they have stated that the country falls into a category of its own.
North Korea continues to deny the existence of camps. However, an increasing number of survivors are coming forward to describe their disturbing experiences, in an attempt to bring to reality, the unjust mistreatment that is continuing to duplicate. It has been estimated that the camps are holding between 100,000 and 200,000 people.
Ms. Kim Young Soon was a survivor of Yodok concentration camp. She spoke about her imprisonment, and how both herself, and her entire family, were detained because of her knowledge about Kim Jong-Il’s affiliation with a previously married woman. In North Korea, this would have been hugely dishonorable, and again in order to hide “secrets,” people’s human rights have been secreted. She was only told ten years after her release, the reasons for her incarceration.
During her time in the prison, every member of her family died. She was witness to public executions, and was forced to eat anything she could get her hands on, such as rats. She stated that prisoners became so desperate, that they would start to inform on one another, in order to receive a little more food or less beatings.
The state continues to be governed in the form of a far right Nazi dictatorship, which implements a totalitarianism cult of personality. Rape is being used as a method of torture in North Korea concentration camps, which is then punished further by murder. Human rights disintegrate, as genocide remains a reality for the people of North Korea.
By Melissa McDonald