North Korea accused of using pandemic to violate human rights

United Nations, Dec 11 (efe-e-a).— More than half of the 15-member United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Friday denounced North Korea for committing crimes against humanity and using the coronavirus pandemic to violate the human rights of the people of the reclusive state.

Eight members, including the US and its allies, of the council took up the issue for a closed-door discussion at the UNSC.

In a joint statement, the countries alleged that constant crimes against humanity in North Korea were a result of “policies by from the highest level of government.”

German ambassador Christoph Heusgen read the joint declaration online, saying the “situation of human rights in the DPRK (the initials of North Korea’s formal name) is appalling and gets worse by the day.”

He said the “gravity, scale and nature” of the human rights violations by North Korea were unparalleled in the world.

Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan signed the statement.

The meeting came after the UN commission of inquiry into the state of human rights in North Korea.

The statement said an estimated 100,000 people, including children, were being detained in camps in North Korea where “they are subjected to torture, forced labor, summary executions, starvation, sexual violence and gender and other forms of inhumane treatment. ”

Many of the prisoners, the statement noted, were charged under North Korea’s “guilt-by-association” system which allows up to three generations of the same family, including children, to be imprisoned or sent to labor camps because one of their relatives has been detained.

“The government of North Korea seeks, and in many aspects has achieved, total control over the North Korean people,” said the members of the council, pointing out women, especially, were the worst sufferers.

They said that North Korean defectors have revealed that “anyone who is over 12 years old is forced to attend public executions” to remind people of the consequences of opposing the government.

The statement said North Korea “is using the global pandemic to crack down on the human rights of its own people.”

The statement expressed concern over a significant increase in executions related to Covid-19 and the tight restrictions on movements in the capital and its surroundings.

“The human rights violations (in North Korea) pose an imminent threat to international peace and security. The DPRK government diverts resources away from its people to its illicit ballistic

They reiterated the global demand, calling on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and its ballistic weapons programs “in a completely verifiable and irreversible manner in accordance with the relevant resolution of the Security Council.” EFE-EPA


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