Shocked! Shocked! By Human Rights Violations in North Korea
by Claudia Rosett
Let us credit the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, that earlier this month she urged more attention to the hideous human rights abuses in North Korea. Expressing her concern that North Korea’s nuclear ventures and missile-testing projects might steal the spotlight from the “deplorable human rights situation” in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pillay decried such horrors as North Korea’s record of abducting citizens of other countries, and its gulag, with its system of torture, “summary executions, rape, slave labor, and forms of collective punishment that may amount to crimes against humanity.”
In a statement that has just been quoted by The Telegraph in an article on North Korea’s prison camps, Pillay said she believes the time has come for “an in-depth inquiry into one of the worst — but least understood and reported — human rights situations in the world,” an inquiry she said would be “fully justified and long overdue.”
But let’s keep a few additional points in mind. First, the human rights abuses and the missile and nuclear proliferation habits are not actually separate issues. They are all part of the apparatus that sustains the totalitarian Kim regime, which depends on repression at home and proliferation, nuclear extortion and assorted criminal rackets abroad. What really has to go is the regime itself, and if the UN wants to make a useful contribution, it could start by kicking out North Korea — which in 1991 received a UN seat it did not deserve, as part of a bizarre UN effort to balance the admission that same year of a thriving and democratizing South Korea.
On that same note, it would also help to publicly acknowledge that the real obstacle to stopping the horrors in North Korea is, by now, not a lack of information, but a lack of will to act. It might have been true about a decade or more ago that the atrocities of the North Korean regime were among the world’s least understood and least reported. But for years now, at great risk, Christian missionaries have been helping North Koreans escape, and various private groups and foundations, often working with North Korean defectors, have been laboring to bring the abuses to light — in detail, and with documentation. …
I’m less charitable toward the UN on this! That NoKo is a Hell-Hole has been known for decades! And the UN is just now seeing and acknowledging it?! What we have is a too familiar pattern. Defectors escape. Defectors publish exposes of what is going on. Western critics help the defectors and help them speak out against the regime. The regime’s defenders demonize the defectors and complicit UN and MSM deny, ignore or minimize the horrors. That’s the story of late 20th Century and early 21st Century NoKo. That’s the story of late 20th Century and early 21st Century Sudan. That’s the story of Mao’s China in the 50s and 60s. That’s the story of Stalinist and Leninist Russia of the 1920s-1940s.