According to a report recently released by United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN-OHCHR), gross and unparalleled violations of human rights are being committed by North Korea against its people, in many cases constituting crimes against humanity.  These findings, while not surprising in and of themselves, are absolutely ground-breaking when realizing the scope, gravity, and utter brutality of the North Korean regime.

Released earlier this month, the report details unparalleled violations that constitute “systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations that have been and are being committed by [North Korea], its institutions, and officials…these are not mere excesses of the State; they are essential components of a political system…the gravity, scale, and nature of these violations…has no parallel in the contemporary world…and seeks to dominate every aspect of its citizens’ lives and terrorizes them from within.”

Former prisoner’s sketch of North Korean torture methods, courtesy of UN-OHCHR

Specific violations committed by North Korea include the employment of “murder, torture, slavery, sexual violence, mass starvation, and other abuses as tools to prop up the state and terrorize ‘the population into submission’, providing abundant evidence in the UN’s 400-page report. While definitely an emotional issue, the evidence, from satellite imagery of suspected prison camps to several hundred confidential interviews and firsthand accounts, is hard to refute.

Satellite imagery of Prison Camp #14, courtesy of UN-OCHCR

These types of abuses are even akin to the atrocities committed by the Nazis, according to a source cited by the UK’s Guardian.  “There are ‘many parallels’ between the evidence he [the source] had heard and crimes committed by the Nazis and their allies in the second world war. He noted the evidence of one prison camp inmate who said his duties involved burning the bodies of those who had starved to death and using the remains as fertiliser.”

Other details range from the torture of women who are believed to be pregnant from a Chinese man, violating  racial purity, claims of the drowning of a newborn baby, forced abortions, the widespread lack of food and famine, a complete lack of freedom of movement for any ‘citizens’, and many others.

Leading up to the investigation and subsequent report, North Korea “refused to participate in the investigation or allow the commission to visit, and immediately rejected the findings, calling them ‘a product of politicisation of human rights on the part of EU and Japan in alliance with the US hostile policy'”.  However, given the public and rather unprecedented scale of human rights violations finally documented and shared for various international actors and institutions to see, the situation now rests with the International Criminal Court and its ability to review any allegations in order to begin a possible prosecution of parties responsible.

North Korean prison camps, courtesy of UN-OHCHR

As SOFREP has previously reported regarding North Korea, the threat from the rogue state has remained a consistent problem for many rational state actors around the world.  With the recent release of the UN-OHCHR report and the referral of its findings to the International Criminal Court for prosecution, it remains to be seen whether or not any action will be taken by world powers to engage in the necessary international political dialogue to create a solution.

Visit the UN’s OHCHR site here for full access to the report and its findings.