150 000 in North Korea prison camps

2012-04-10 08:40

kalahari.com

Washington - A new report says more than 150 000 North Koreans are incarcerated in a Soviet-style, hidden gulag despite the communist government's denial it holds political prisoners.

The report released ON Tuesday by the US-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea is based on interviews with 60 former prisoners and guards. It includes satellite images of what are described as prison labour camps and penitentiaries.

The report documents the alleged incarceration of whole families, including children and grandparents for the "political crimes" of other family members, and infanticide and forced abortions of women prisoners, who illegally crossed into China and got pregnant by men there, and were then forcibly repatriated to North Korea.

The committee, a private group, is holding a conference on Tuesday in Washington, timed for Pyongyang's celebrations to mark the centennial of the repressive nation's founder.

US envoy on North Korean human rights, Robert King, is due to address the conference, that comes as the international spotlight shines on the North over its plans to launch a long-range rocket and, according to South Korean intelligence, a third nuclear test.

Death rates

"It is not just nuclear weapons that have to be dismantled, but an entire system of political repression," said Roberta Cohen, chair of the committee's board of directors.

The report says the camp system was initially modelled in the 1950s on the Soviet gulag, to punish "wrong thinkers" and those belonging to the "wrong political class" or religious persuasion.

It cites estimates from North Korean state security agency officials who defected to South Korea that the camp system holds between 150 000 and 200 000 people - out of a total population of around 24 million. It urges North Korea to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross access, and to dismantle the camps.

The 200-page report described different kinds of detention facilities, including penal labour colonies where it says political detainees are imprisoned without judicial process for mostly lifetime sentences in mining, logging or agricultural enterprises.

The labour colonies are enclosed behind barbed wires and electrified fences, mainly in the north and north central mountains of the country, the report says, alleging high rates of death in detention due to systemic mistreatment, torture, execution and malnutrition.

The report alleged provides precise geographical locations of the political prison camps. It says former prisoners were able to identify their former barrack and houses, work sites, execution grounds and other landmarks in the camps via imagery available through Google Earth.

The committee says the report's findings contradict a December 2009 statement by North Korea to the UN Human Rights Council that the political prisoner camps do not exist.

Greg Scarlatoiu, the committee's executive director, said that more than 30 000 North Korean defectors have now fled the country - up from just 3 000 a decade ago - so Pyonngyang cannot hide the harsh reality of its political prison camps.

- AP

Read more on:    north korea
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Mbete: Nkandla is a holy place

Some of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's remarks about President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home amounted to interference “with a man’s kraal”, says ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Rondebosch - 12:58 PM
    Road name: Main Road Southbound
    HEAVY DELAYS between Rosebank and Newlands
  • Thursday Cape Town - 12:49 PM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street Outbound
    DELAYS between Strand Street and Elevated Freeway
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Marketer

Western Cape
Ayanda Mbanga Communications
Market Related

FIT Manager

Western Cape
Quantex Executive Recruitment
Market Related

Store -In - store Supervisor – Cavendish Square

Western Cape
Quantum Recruitment
Market Related

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 2 White 16GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core...

From R5727.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.