In a report released Monday, the United Nations compared North Korea’s human rights conditions to those of Nazi Germany's Third Reich. The report cites crimes of systematic executions, torture, rape, forced abortions and starvation.
However, despite accusations and comparisons to Nazi-era atrocities, North Korea’s longtime political ally and economic partner, China, came out discrediting the new report, saying the allegations were not credible and were “divorced from reality.”
Coming on the heels of a controversial decision to abstain from voting during a U.N. Security Council meeting on Russian occupation of Crimea, Chinese diplomat Chen Chuandong made it clear China will have no problem vetoing any resolutions by the U.N. following this report.
“The inability of the commission to get support and co-operation from the country concerned made it impossible for the commission to carry out its mandate in an impartial, objective and effective manner,” Chen said. North Korea’s extremely limited access, China says, makes findings by the U.N. unreliable.
The U.N. panel of jurists who compiled the report were not allowed access to North Korea to speak to officials or gather information on the ground, and instead based most of its report on testimony from refugees and defectors now mostly in South Korea.
North Korea has called the report a “political attack” orchestrated by the United States and other Western nations to add sanctions to the pariah nation and bring down its government.
North Korea’s representative at the U.N. in Geneva, So Se Pyong, said the witnesses who testified in the report had biased opinions because they were criminals who had escaped the country.
“The escalating campaign in the area of human rights conducted by hostile forces against the DPRK including through instigating the Commission of Inquiry to come up with extremely unreasonable assertions like the referral to the international criminal court represents only a desperate attempt to eliminate our social system by all means and ridiculous provocation,” So said in a statement.
Despite what China and North Korea say, the assertions brought forth by the U.N. are markedly disturbing.
“Detainees are subject to so-called ‘pigeon torture,’ in which they are forced to cross their arms behind their back, are handcuffed, hung in the air tied to a pole, and beaten with a club,” the U.N. report summary said. “Guards also rape female detainees.”
Sources disclosed that there was “almost complete denial of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion,” and that society was polarized by class and “rigidly stratified.”
Interviews revealed the systematic implementation of execution as punishment to be used even in cases of nonviolent crimes, like smuggling or fraud.