News / Asia

    Amnesty: Torture, Execution Rampant in Vast N. Korea Prisons

    Torture, Execution Rampant In Vast North Korea Prisonsi
    X
    December 05, 2013 1:06 AM
    Human rights group Amnesty International has released satellite photos it says show political prisons in North Korea the size of large cities. Former guards and inmates say torture, rape and executions are commonplace. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London
    Henry Ridgwell
    Human rights group Amnesty International says torture and executions are widespread in political prisons in North Korea that can be the size of large cities. Amnesty used new satellite photos and testimony from former guards and inmates to compile its report.
     
    Amnesty International said North Korea’s biggest camp for political prisoners, known as Kwanliso Prison Camp 16, stretches across 560 square kilometers, three times the size of Washington D.C. It is thought to house 20,000 prisoners.
     
    A former prison guard, identified only as Lee, told Amnesty about conditions in the camp.
     
    Lee said the purpose of prison camps is to oppress, degrade, and violate the inmates for as long as they are alive. The prisoners are only humans insofar as they can speak.  However, in reality they are worse off than animals, he said.
     
    The testimony offers just a glimpse of the horrific scale of human rights abuses being carried out in the country, said Amnesty International’s East Asia Researcher Rajiv Narayan.
     
    “They have witnessed public executions. We know that torture is rampant. They have all seen deaths due to malnutrition. Everyone is forced to work from dawn to dusk. The security official also told us of cases of rape. Women being raped and also disappearing,” said Narayan.

    • An aerial view of Camp 15 in North Korea, Sept. 16, 2013. (Amnesty International/DigitalGlobe)
    • Aerial views of logging at Camp 15 in North Korea in 2011 and 2013. (Amnesty International/DigitalGlobe)
    • Aerial views of a furniture factory at Camp 15 in North Korea taken over the last few years. (Amnesty International/DigitalGlobe)
    • Housing construction at Camp 16, North Korea, May 26, 2013. (Amnesty International/DigitalGlobe)
    • An aerial view of industrial areas of Camp 16 in North Korea in 2010 and 2012. (Amnesty International/DigitalGlobe)

    Kim Young-soon, who survived nine years at another prison, Camp 15, recalls seeing a public execution.
     
    She said the prisoner is first beaten half to death, then tied to a pole up on a platform, with his hands tied behind his back. His feet are also tied, another rope is tied around his waist, and he is blindfolded, she said. Then, one guard shouts to the firing squad, “In the name of the people, shoot the enemy of the revolution!” 
     
    There are thought to be four such camps in North Korea holding 100,000 prisoners.
     
    Amnesty shared its evidence with the U.N. Commission of Inquiry investigating human rights abuses in North Korea. Its chairman, Michael Kirby, spoke to VOA in October.
     
    “The establishment of the Commission of Inquiry was a unanimous act of the Human Rights Council. And no vote was called for. That is a new development and an unusual one in the world community and it shows that the international community on the whole is very worried and very disturbed about this, and out of that we hope action will follow,” said Kirby.
     
    The inquiry’s report will be presented to the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council in March. North Korea has called its establishment a ‘hostile political act’ and has not responded to accusations of human rights abuses.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mark Crane
    December 10, 2013 4:23 PM
    I would like to know what the U.N. is going to do with it? Probably will send the letter to ask the government of North Korea don't do it like that. By the way why is only one post here? Because it is not your problem? Shame.

    by: Anonymous
    December 08, 2013 5:10 PM
    there is no other way then an international military operation against the leaders of north korea, if possible a quite inteligence operation to kill the president and his close aids

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.