UN: human rights situation in North Korea "very bad"
The Special UN envoy reports, two thirds of the population without food aid, the regime must halt public executions and punishments for those seeking to escape. Pyongyang denounces the report as "political conspiracy". South Korean broadcaster suggests a new inter-Korean summit.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Pyongyang has to radically change its "bad" situation of human rights by blocking public executions and punishments for those who are caught and deported, after having sought refuge abroad. This was the statement of Vitit Muntarbhorn, UN special rapporteur on North Korea, according to whom "only one third of the population – the equivalent to two million people - receive the aid allocated by the United Nations World Food Program and the Food is emergency is now at a "desperate" level.

Thai professor Muntarbhorn, has studied the situation in North Korea for six years, despite never having been given permission to enter the country. He presented his latest report, compiled with the assistance of humanitarian agencies, NGOs and North Korean refugees, to the UN General Assembly committee that deals with human rights.  

Pak Tok-hun, Pyongyang's deputy ambassador to the UN, strongly denied a report, labelling it "a document of political conspiracy, full of distortions, lies and falsehoods, written by hostile forces." The diplomat added that the policy of pressure on his country was "totally useless" and reinforced "the pride in our system to protect human rights."

Vitit Muntarbhorn is calling for long-term initiatives that will bring the communist regime to replace its policy "of a garrison state" with one that looks "first of all to the people." The UN special rapporteur on North Korea called on the leaders of the country to guarantee security and personal freedom and dismantle the pervasive surveillance system spread throughout the territory.  

Among emergencies that need to be dealt with is the food crisis: compared to an improvement in early 2009, Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests last spring have precipitated the situation. Today, emphasizes Muntarbhorn, there is a "desperate" need for help because two thirds of the population is at risk of starvation. In the past, repeated complaints have pointed out that the aid, instead of reaching the population, is stolen by the military and government officials.

Finally the South Korean broadcaster KBS has reported a secret meeting between officials of the two Koreas, which occurred last week in Singapore. Discussions focused on the possibility of a new inter-Korean summit, along the lines of those that occurred in 2000 and 2007. Rumours about a possible meeting began to circulate after the meeting between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and the "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il, held in Pyongyang in early October. The office of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of a summit with the North.