World News

UN Investigator: 'Unspeakable Atrocities' in N. Korea Prison Camps

The head of a U.N. human rights probe says prison camp survivors in North Korea have suffered "unspeakable atrocities," suggesting a pattern of widespread abuses.

Michael Kirby, who spoke before the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva Tuesday, conducted hearings in Seoul and Tokyo over the past few months. He interviewed North Korean exiles, including some former prisoners.

Kirby repeated stories from one man about children surviving by eating rodents and grass. He also spoke about the testimony of a woman who said she witnessed a mother being forced to drown her own baby.

Kirby, a former judge on Australia's highest court, told the panel his inquiry would seek to determine which North Korean officials and institutions are responsible for the situation.

North Korea has refused to cooperate with the inquiry and alleged Tuesday the evidence was fabricated by those hostile to Pyongyang -- including Japan, the EU and the U.S.

Kirby dismissed the criticism and called on North Korea to offer evidence in its defense.



The commission of inquiry, which was launched in March of this year, is expected to submit a final report early next year.

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