In the News – N. Korea condemns U.S. human rights report

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In the News – N. Korea condemns U.S. human rights report

SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) — North Korea has lashed out at the United States for its recent annual report critical of Pyongyang’s dismal human rights conditions, calling the move a “product of the U.S. hostile policy” toward the North.

“We bitterly condemn the despicable human rights report worked out by the U.S.,” the foreign ministry said in an English-language statement carried late Tuesday by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.

The ministry claimed that the U.S. report is based on rumors concocted by a handful of traitors and criminals who left their homeland, referring to North Korean defectors in the South.

South Korea is home to more than 23,500 North Korean defectors. Many of them have testified about a wide range of human rights abuses in the communist country, including torture, public executions and political prison camps.

The North’s angry reaction came days after the U.S. State Department said in an annual report that the North’s human rights conditions remain “extremely poor.”

The report said that North Korea subjected its 24 million people to rigid controls over many aspects of their lives and that there continued to be reports of a vast network of political prison camps in which conditions were often harsh and life threatening.

Amnesty International, a London-based human rights advocacy group, also estimated in its separate annual report last week that up to 200,000 prisoners were held in horrific conditions in six sprawling political prison camps.

The North has flatly denied accusations of its alleged rights abuses, describing them as a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime.

“The U.S. unchanged human rights racket against the (North) is, in essence, a product of the U.S. hostile policy toward the (North) to isolate and stifle at any cost its socialist system,” the foreign ministry statement said.

It also accused the U.S of being the “world’s worst human rights abuser,” claiming the U.S. has massacred hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in different parts of the world through aggression and interference.

 

Original article can be found here.

In the News – Amnesty International report: North Korea executes 30 officials who were involved in talks with South Korea

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In the News – Amnesty International report: North Korea executes 30 officials who were involved in talks with South Korea

(FILES) This undated file picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 24, 2012 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un aiming a gun during an inspection tour of the Sporting Bullet Factory in Pyongyang.  North Korea has announced it will suspend its nuclear tests and uranium enrichment programme in return for US food aid, in a breakthrough less than three months after the death of leader Kim Jong-Il.  Following talks with the United States last week, the regime led by Kim's young and untested son Kim Jong-Un late on February 29, 2012 promised also to suspend long-range missile tests and allow the return of UN nuclear inspectors.            AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS      ----EDITORS NOTE ----  RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS  (Photo credit should read KCNA/AFP/Getty Images)

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Amnesty International reports that the Kim Jong-Un regime killed 30 officials for not improving relations between North and South Korea. Some were rounded up and shot by firing squad while other died in staged traffic accidents, the report says.

Thirty North Korean officials involved in talks with South Korea have been executed or died in “staged traffic accidents,” according a shocking new report.

The Amnesty International investigators say another 200 people were rounded up and executed or sent to political prison camps.

The 30 men were killed – sometimes using a firing squad, according to reports – for failing to improve relations between the North and the South, and are considered scapegoats for the new low point in inter-Korean relations.

North Korea appears to be putting the final touches on the test detonation of a nuclear device.

Kim Min-seok, a spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of Defence, said intelligence reports indicate the North is ready to carry out the long-awaited test

Original article can be found here.

In the News – 30 North Korean officials involved in South talks die ‘in traffic accidents’

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In the News – 30 North Korean officials involved in South talks die ‘in traffic accidents’

In its annual study, Amnesty International claimed that in addition to the 30 who died in purges last year, a further 200 were rounded up in January this year by the State Security Agency as Pyongyang carried out the transfer of power from Kim Jong-il, who died of an apparent heart attack in December, and his 29-year-old son, Kim Jong-un.

Of those 200, Amnesty said, some were apparently executed and the remainder were sent to political prison camps. The gulag system presently contains an estimated 200,000 people in “horrific conditions,” the group said.

North Korea has a habit of executing bureaucrats who are perceived to have failed the regime, even though they are often merely carrying out the orders of higher-ranking officials or members of the ruling family.

In 2010, Pak Nam-gi, the former head of the finance department of the Workers’ Party, was reportedly executed by firing squad for the catastrophic attempt to reform the impoverished nation’s currency. The result was rampant inflation and food shortages became even more acute.

The 30 men executed for failing to improve Pyongyang’s ties with Seoul are considered scapegoats for the new low point in inter-Korean ties.

Their task would have been made immeasurably more difficult given North Korea’s insistence with pushing ahead with its development of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In spite of universal condemnation of its failed attempt to launch what Pyongyang claimed was a rocket to put a satellite into orbit in April, North Korea appears to be putting the finishing touches to a test detonation of a nuclear device.

Kim Min-seok, a spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of Defence, said on Thursday that intelligence reports indicate the North has completed its technical preparations to carry out the long-awaited test and that it could go ahead at any time.

Satellite images of the Punggye-ri site and other data show that the tunnel that had been excavated for the test has been refilled, indicating that the nuclear device has been put in place.

There is speculation that the test may be timed to coincide with the Memorial Day national holiday in the United States, which falls in Monday.

“The North Korean regime is hell-bent on being a belligerent actor,” said Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, during a visit to Seoul with a congressional delegation. “And I think that on holidays or sad commemorations like Memorial Day weekend is when the leadership tries to provoke the democratic allies into action.”

 

Original article can be found here.

In the News – Group Seeks UN Help Over S.Koreans Detained in China

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In the News – Group Seeks UN Help Over S.Koreans Detained in China

A South Korean activist group is seeking UN help over China’s detention of South Korean activists involved in helping North Korean defectors there. Kim Young-hwan and three fellow activists have been detained in China for unclear reasons since March 29.

Han Ki-hong of the Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights said on Sunday, “We are discussing ways to appeal to the UN or large international human rights organizations and highlights China’s illegal detention of Kim and his colleagues on the vague charge of threatening China’s national security.”

The Chinese government has denied Kim access to his lawyer in person or by phone. He was allowed just one 30-minute meeting with the South Korean consul on April 26. The network, for whom Kim has been working, says such harsh treatment violates international law and human rights.

The group has been talking to the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea, which recently extracted through the UN an official response from North Korea on the fate of Shin Suk-ja, the wife of a prominent South Korean who was lured to North Korea but escaped.

Kwon Eun-kyoung at the ICNK said, “We have had legal advice that China clearly violates international law by detaining Kim and his colleagues for more than 37 days without indictment and obstructing meetings with his lawyer and consular officials. We are drafting petitions to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Special Rapporteur on Torture.”

The group has also written to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

 

Original article can be found here.

In the News – Human Rights Groups Call on UN Over N.Korea Gulag

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In the News – Human Rights Groups Call on UN Over N.Korea Gulag

Over 10,000 people die in North Korean prison camps every year, 20 to 25 percent of them from forced labor, the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea said Tuesday.

The group consists of some 40 leading human rights organizations and activists including the world’s big three — Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International League for Human Rights — and was established in September last year.

/Newsis

In a press conference Tuesday it called on the UN to carry out a special investigation of North Korean gulags and said it submitted a petition to the UN Human Rights Council.

Based on testimonies of North Korean defectors, it says there are six political prisons in the Stalinist country housing 150,000 to 200,000 people who are subject to inhumane treatment such as forced labor, torture and public execution. It said the work of just one UN special rapporteur on North Korea is not enough to save the vast number of political prisoners there and urged the UN to establish a commission to investigate crimes against humanity in the isolated country.

Original article can be found here.

In the News – More Than 30 N.Korean Officials Purged

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In the News – More Than 30 N.Korean Officials Purged

More than 30 officials were executed in North Korea last year to consolidate new leader Kim Jong-un’s grip on power, international human rights watchdog Amnesty International said Tuesday.

“We received unconfirmed reports that North Korean authorities had either executed by firing squad or killed in staged traffic accidents 30 officials who had participated in inter-Korean talks or supervised bilateral dialogues with South Korea,” Amnesty International said.

“In January 2011 unconfirmed reports also said that more than 200 officials had been detained by state security officials in a move to consolidate the leadership succession of Kim Jong-un,” it added. There were concerns that “some of them had been already executed,” the watchdog said.

 

Original article can be found here.

In the News – Emergency Hearing on North Korean Refugees in China

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In the News – Emergency Hearing on North Korean Refugees in China

From L to R, T. Kumar, Director, International Advocacy for Amnesty International USA; Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea; and Michael Horowitz, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute testifies before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, March 5. They said that China’s forced repatriation of North Korean refugees violates International law. (Gary Feuerberg/ The Epoch Times)

WASHINGTON—The Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) held an emergency hearing to draw attention to the over 30 North Korean refugees who had fled to China and are facing the imminent danger of repatriation. If returned, they face certain persecution, torture, and even execution.

“The international community—especially the United Nations, the Obama Administration, and the U.S. Congress—must insist that China at long last honor its treaty obligations, end its egregious practice of [forced return to North Korea], or be exposed as hypocrites,” said Rep. Chris Smith, Chairman of the CECC, March 5 in his opening remarks. Continue reading