UK Lord Reacts to Report on North Korea Atrocities
VADUZ, Liechtenstein, February 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
The United Nations has to act decisively on the brutality of the North Korean regime or be held in universal contempt, says World Review author Lord Alton of Liverpool, who has urged the international community for a decade to take a stand.
'The free world now knows exactly what happens inside North Korea and the scale of brutality,' said Lord Alton, who has chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea in the House of Lords for ten years.
His comments follow publication of a 400-page UN Commission of Inquiry report of atrocities and crimes against humanity in North Korea. The COI was chaired by Australian judge, Mr Justice Kirby.
The North Korean regime is reflected by executions, purges, a reign of terror, falsifying of history, show trials and a network of gulags which incarcerates between 200,000 and 300,000 people. An estimated 400,000 have died in prison camps in the last 30 years. There is an attempt to obliterate all political dissent and religious belief.
Judge Kirby says that North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un and his regime must be held to account and brought to justice before the International Criminal Court.
Lord Alton said: "It is now ten years since I urged the British Parliament to highlight human rights violations in North Korea with the same emphasis placed on security issues.
"The witness statements the COI has received tally with the eye-witness accounts given to my committee.
"These stories are of religious persecution, lack of freedom of movement, lack of labour rights, non-implementation of legal codes, lack of a fair trial, lack of judicial oversight of detention facilities and severe mistreatment of repatriated persons - mainly repatriated from China.
"A consistent picture emerged at the parliamentary committee hearings of appalling violence against women in detention facilities and chilling accounts of life in prisons and labour camps. The individual stories brought home the enormity of the suffering behind individual statistics. The COI report also brings many of these dark stories to light.
"As it comes to consider the COI report, the United Nations Security Council - and especially China - has to decide what action to take on North Korea.
The United Nations deserves to be held in universal contempt if it now fails to show the necessary resolve to act on the findings of its own Commission of Inquiry."
About the author
World Review author Lord David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons (MP) in the United Kingdom for 18 years and is now an Independent Crossbench Life Peer.
His publications include "What Kind of Country?", published in 1987 - the first of ten books. He has also authored several reports on human rights in countries such as North Korea, Burma, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Brazil, Sudan/Darfur, Tibet and Rwanda - all of which he has visited. In 2013 Lion will publish "Building Bridges - Is there hope for North Korea?", written with Rob Chidley.
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