People’s rights are reportedly violated in “almost every aspect” of their lives in North Korea a.k.a. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
It was stated Monday by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Zeid told the Security Council via video link from Paris that security tensions on the Korean Peninsula should not negate concerns about the situation of ordinary people there.
He said that while his Office (OHCHR) struggles to paint the complete picture of the situation due to the lack of access to the DPRK, “escapees have reported to us extremely widespread violations of rights in almost every aspect of people’s lives.”
Those violations include widespread torture in detention centres, where it is used to extract information or confessions from people suspected of such activities as planning to leave the country or communicating with the outside world. Detainees work in mines or infrastructure projects in conditions of severe deprivation.
Moreover, there is absolute secrecy about people detained in the five political prison camps which are also reportedly operational, Zeid said.
He added that OHCHR’s interviews with persons who have left the DPRK indicate that fear of being sent to these facilities is a powerful instrument of control.
Repatriated escapees are routinely subjected to multiple forms of torture and ill-treatment at detention centres, including beatings, forced labour, deprivation of food and healthcare and sexual violence. Women are subjected to invasive body searches that may amount to rape under international law.
Zeid also said that no progress has been made regarding cases of international abductions and enforced disappearances of foreign nationals.
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