Torture. Rape. Executions. Forced abortions. Disappearance. Enslavement. World events followers already had a strong sense of the bleak conditions of life in North, Korea but a new 374-page United Nations Report digs deeper into North Korea’s apparently daily routine of suffering by its citizens. Despite the report, the county’s leader Kim Jong un fiddles while South Korea burns.
The new report, claimed to be the most definite study yet of the country, accuses North Korea of “unspeakable atrocities.” Many of the activities, it says, rise to the level of crimes against humanity and resemble those of Germany’s Third Reich before and during World War II.
The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea is calling for an international tribunal to fully investigate the alleged crimes and hold the country’s leaders, including leader, Kim Jong un, accountable. Many of North Korea’s acts can be labeled genocide, according to Lee Jung-hoon, South Korea’s ambassador for human rights.
More than 80 witnesses, many of whom managed to escape the brutality into China, were interviewed for the report. Investigators also gathered information from satellite images and other sources.
The witnesses reported first person accounts of the citizenry disappearing, put into prison camps, being executed, raped and tortured. Apparently it takes little to be singled out and persecuted in North Korea. The country allows no free speech and any speech that is remotely anti-government, even to a neighbor, is not tolerated. More vocal political dissidents are treated the worst with most of them locked up and tortured in prison camps for the rest of their lives.
Results of the report will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 17 of this year. Despite that, however, it is unlikely that conditions will change in North Korea anytime soon and it is also improbable that Kim Jong un and his cohorts will ever face justice. In fact, North Korea has already rejected and dismissed the report as slander. At present, the country’s leader Kim Jong un fiddles while South Korea burns.
Many political science observers thought that when Kim Jong un, now 31 and the world’s youngest head of state, took over the reins of North Korea, conditions in the country might improve somewhat. His father Kim Jong Il died in 2011. Back in 2004 a Human Rights Watch Report called North Korea, “one of the world’s most repressive governments” with no freedom of press, religion, equal education or political opposition. Kim Jong ll was accused even then of crimes against humanity and for doing little to relieve the famine in the country.
Unfortunately for the people of North Korea, the son appears to be a chip off the old block and continues to fiddle while North Korea burns.
The elder Kim Jong ll had a nasty reputation in his personal activities. Numerous newspaper accounts over the years had him spending lavishly while his citizens starved. Reportedly, he had 17 private mansions and resorts. Further, he was said to be obsessed with Elvis Presley and U.S. movies (his personal collection totaled 20,000 DVDs) and he spent $1 million a year importing Hennessy Cognac for himself and his friends.
The younger Kim Jong un is said to be obsessed with basketball as evidenced by the high profile visits of former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman who has become his “friend.” Reportedly Kim Jong un has built a lavish movie theater for he and his friends, has had plastic surgery, and tries to import high-end luxury cars into the country for himself. Earlier this year, according to news reports, Kim Jong un had his own uncle and his uncle’s family members executed because of a feud.
Right now, the insular ruler of his inward-looking country seems indifferent to outside criticism. Hopes are that this new United Nations report will cast a penetrating spotlight on North Koreas and exert pressure for reform from other countries. For now, however, Kim Jong un fiddles while North Korea burns.
By Jim McCullaugh