New York City (AsiaNews) - Children drowned shortly after birth, people
killed in front of hundreds of witnesses, shacks invaded by parasites are just
some aspects of life in North Korean prison camps, survivors told a United
Nations commission of inquiry seeking to shed light on the atrocities committed
by Kim Jong-un's regime.
Michael Kirby, a former judge on Australia's
High Court who steers a one-year commission of inquiry on North Korea set up in
March by the UN Human Rights Council, has collected
the testimonies of former prisoners and exiles who fled the persecution of one
of the most repressive regimes in the world.
"Testimony heard thus far points to widespread and
serious violations in all areas," Kirby said.
"We will seek to determine which state institutions and officials
carry responsibility for gross human rights violations proved to have been
committed," he explained.
Indeed, "We have, in a preliminary way, received testimony that
identifies persons who are in charge of particular prison camps," as well
as the chain of command.
"The commission listened to political prison camp survivors who
suffered through childhoods of starvation and unspeakable atrocities as a
product of the 'guilt by association' practice, punishing other generations for
a family member's perceived political views or affiliation," he told the
here is to the doctrine conceived by the "father of the nation" Kim
Il-sung, according to whom political or civil offenders must be punished for "three
Some of the evidence
gathered in South Korea
and Japan from North Korean exiles is truly applaing.
imprisoned from birth lived on rodents, lizards and grass, and witnessed the
execution of his mother and brother; a woman saw a fellow inmate forced to
drown her own baby in a bucket; and a man was obliged to burn the corpses of
starved inmates and scatter their ashes on vegetable patches.
not allowed UN inspectors into the country and has refused to provide information
about state-run concentration camps, which hold about 300,000 people according
to some estimates.
Korea said those behind the allegations were "human scum", but Kirby
said, "An ounce of evidence is worth far more than many pounds of insults
and baseless attacks."