3 March, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 08/09/2005
SOUTH KOREA - NORTH KOREA
Human rights violations in North Korea: death sentences, forced abortions, death by starvation

Seoul (AsiaNews) – Public executions, forced abortions and death by starvation, are common abuses of human rights in North Korea. This was revealed by South Korea's National Human Rights Commission following data collection and interviews with around 150 North Korean exiles who escaped to the south. The report was drawn up by a group from Dongguk University, led by Prof. Koh Yu-hwan.

The report presents a grim picture. At least 75 of those interviewed said they had witnessed public executions. Death sentences are handed down for crimes ranging from theft of a cow to the sale of pornographic material. One refugee who tried to escape more than once, first to China and then to South Korea, testified that a nurse in a hospital had forced a woman to abort by hitting her repeatedly on the abdomen, justifying herself by saying that "we don't have adequate medicines in hospital".

Some witnesses told of hunger suffered by a large part of the population, saying the bodies of people who starved to death were strewn in the streets, side by side with rice vendors. One said: "Between 1995 and 1998 the food shortage was terrible. Everyday, on the way to work, I would see the bodies of people who starved to death in the streets."

According to international organizations, at least two million people have died of hunger in North Korea in recent years. The food crisis is down to a series of natural disasters (flooding and drought) and to mistaken agricultural policies of the military dictatorship.

All these problems prompt hundreds of North Koreans to try to escape to China or to the south. China tends to return fugitives to North Korea in a bid to prevent a large influx of refugees. They are also subject to violations of human rights.

Fugitives who are repatriated from China are taken to concentration camps in Musan and Chongjin and to Office 927 in Hysan. "The first thing you are ordered to do is to strip naked and to stand up and sit down at least 50 times," one defector testified. "This is to see whether there is money hidden up your anus." He said when women give birth in the camps, the babies are placed face-down on the ground. "Mothers break down seeing their baby cry and squirm, and are told by officials, 'Think about your baby crying and don't go to China again,'" he said.

Set up in 1998, the Human Rights Commission has always been reluctant to research and denounce problems in North Korea. This is the first report about the reign of Kim Jong-il. In any case, the Commission has decided not to make the report public, drawing criticism from many Koreans who accuse it of bowing to the "sentiments of the government [of the south] and of politicians", thus forfeiting its independence which is guaranteed by law.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
07/25/2009 KOREA
Pyongyang: Christian executed in public for distributing Bibles
07/30/2004 NORTH KOREA - SOUTH KOREA
Pyongyang accuses Seoul of "kidnapping" defectors from North
03/18/2010 KOREA
Kim Jong-il sentences official to death for failed currency reform
12/05/2003 North Korea - South Korea
A new protestant church and greenhouse under construction in Pyongyang
06/26/2009 KOREA
World Food Program: humanitarian crisis in North Korea

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.