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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces a Chaotic World and the Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid