News

Activist Groups Petition UN to Investigate North Korea Prison Camps

Participants holding pictures of a Northern prison camp and N. Korean children in hunger shout slogans after they got their heads shaved during an anti-North Korea rally demanding a legislation of N. Korean human rights laws at a plaza in front of the Seo
Participants holding pictures of a Northern prison camp and N. Korean children in hunger shout slogans after they got their heads shaved during an anti-North Korea rally demanding a legislation of N. Korean human rights laws at a plaza in front of the Seo
Jason Strother

Human-rights groups are petitioning the United Nations to investigate suspected prison camps in North Korea. Activists say thousands of North Koreans have died from starvation and forced labor in the gulag-like facilities.

A group calling itself the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea says 400,000 North Koreans have died in labor or prison camps during the past 60 years. And according to activists, as many as 200,000 prisoners remain locked up today.  
Human rights in North Korea are often overshadowed by security concerns, especially Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.

Jared Genser of the international law firm Perseus Strategies says petitioning the United Nations will force member states to stop ignoring the violations taking place in the North.  

“While North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are an obvious priority, the international community has an unfulfilled obligation to ameliorate the suffering inside North Korea," said Genser. "It is time for the U.N. to take the lead in helping to put an end to the gulag.”

Interest in North Korean human rights violations has surged of late. That is due in part to the publication of Escape From Camp 14, a book detailing the life of North Korean refugee Shin Dong-hyuk, a man born into one of these labor camps.

In this memoir, written by former Washington Post correspondent Blain Harden, Shin describes the torture he and his family endured and how he watched the public execution of his mother and brother.

This and similar first-hand accounts from defectors form the backbone of the coalition’s case against North Korea.

Amnesty International’s Jack Rendler says there is enough evidence to justify a U.N. investigation.

“What we want to have happen is that the U.N., the U.N. Human Rights Council, will establish a commission of inquiry to look into the violations that have occurred by virtue of there being a prison camp and labor camp system in North Korea and the abuses that occur within that system,” said Rendler.

Rendler acknowledges that getting the United Nations to take action against North Korea will not be easy, but he says activists need to keep pushing.

He says that on April 14 Amnesty International will deliver petitions with 170,000 names to the North Korean Mission to the United Nations in Switzerland.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs