UN expert urges North Korea to dismantle political prison camps

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) -A U.N. human rights knowledgeable known as on North Korea on Monday to launch tens of hundreds of individuals believed to languish in political jail camps, whereas urging regional and world powers to lift such points with Pyongyang alongside nuclear issues.

Tomas Ojea Quintana stated {that a} landmark U.N. investigation in 2014 had discovered that as much as 120,000 individuals have been held within the camps and that he continued to obtain allegations about them.

“I’ve heard accounts that…the system, the political regime in North Korea, wouldn’t survive with out the existence of political jail camps,” Ojea Quintana advised a information briefing.

Noting that there have been occasional amnesties for prisoners, he added: “I actually urge the management to proceed to launch prisoners particularly these most susceptible and in the end in fact I name for the dismantlement of those amenities.”

Ojea Quintana stated that North Korea’s system of ‘kwanliso’ or political jail camps, constituted crimes towards humanity – a cost Pyongyang has rejected – and known as for perpetrators to face justice.

North Korea, which has repeatedly denied the existence of political jail camps, didn’t take the ground on the debate. It has beforehand accused Western powers of utilizing criticism of human rights as a part of a hostile coverage in direction of it.

“Authorities in North Korea have to know they’ve to reply ultimately for crimes being dedicated,” Ojea Quintana stated. “In some political prisoner camps the prisons are getting used for pressured labour in coal mines and other forms of mines.”


Earlier, addressing the Human Rights Council, he urged North Korea to reopen its borders to assist staff and meals imports, saying that its additional self-isolation through the COVID-19 pandemic could have left many dealing with “starvation and hunger.”

Some 40% of its inhabitants lack ample meals provides, he stated, including: “Now with the nation nonetheless within the grip of strict COVID-19 measures, there are critical issues that essentially the most susceptible segments of the inhabitants could also be dealing with starvation and hunger.”

The Democratic Folks’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has not reported any COVID-19 instances and has imposed strict anti-virus measures for the reason that onset of the pandemic two years in the past, together with border closures and home journey curbs.

International help companies and embassies largely left the nation after the restrictions made it laborious to take care of a presence there.

“We stay deeply involved concerning the DPRK’s systematic, widespread human rights violations, together with torture, enslavement, and arbitrary imprisonment,” U.S. diplomat Daniel Murphy advised the council.

North Korea doesn’t recognise Ojea Quintana’s mandate as U.N. particular rapporteur for human rights in DPRK.

North Korea appeared to have fired a short-range a number of rocket launcher on Sunday, South Korea’s army stated, amid heightened army tensions on the peninsula after a spate of bigger missile launches by the nuclear-armed North.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Modifying by Frank Jack Daniel)

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