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North Korea’s absurd white paper on human rights

Posted December. 11, 2017 07:20,   

Updated December. 11, 2017 08:37


North Korea released a white paper published by its human rights institute under the National Academy of Social Science on the occasion of the U.N. Human Rights Day on Sunday. “The Republic is a country faithfully protecting and realizing human rights, which is most thoroughly advocating for democratic freedom and rights of the general public,” the North said in the white paper. The white paper went on to say that the U.N. Security Council’s resolutions are illegal acts that obstruct the North’s human rights, saying, “Genuine human rights can be realized only when we guard our sovereign rights by strengthening the military.” The North, which has ruthlessly violated human dignity by committing open execution even today, is thus claiming to be a “country protecting human rights.”

Human Rights Day commemorates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the U.N. General Assembly on December 10, 1948. Article 1 of the declaration provides that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It is doubtful whether North Korea, a country of hierarchical society based on family background that is thoroughly oppressing and controlling its citizens through constant monitoring, wiretapping and torturing, is entitled to mention human rights.

The North Korean regime has been increasingly cruel and merciless in human rights violation since Kim Jong Un’s inauguration in late 2011. Interviews with dozens of North Korean defectors conducted by the Washington Post last month revealed truly shocking reality. North Koreans who had a glimmer of expectation following the emergence of Kim Jong Un, who had studied in Switzerland, have realized that their expectation was merely fantasy and are now in complete despair. North Koreans had been sent to a prison camp for watching South Korean or American movies in the past, but under the Kim Jong Un regime, they are sent to a prison camp for watching Chinese movies. A North Korean defector who was a college student testified that “If I were asked what the worst thing in North Korea was, it was the very fact that I was born in that country.”

Still worse, such a miserable reality is making the North Korean regime all the more dangerous to the outside world. The Kim Jong Un regime is investing astronomical amounts of money in nuclear and missile development while its citizens are starving. Pyongyang is getting more aggressive and provocative at the pretext of countering external threats, and is disregarding or covering up internal discontent. In the face of the international community’s demand to improve human rights situation, Pyongyang is strengthening its military even further. Even soon after the Third Committee at the U.N. General Assembly unanimously adopted a North Korean human rights resolution last month, the North expressed opposition, saying, “It is a plot by the United States and other hostile countries.”

Such an abnormal regime of oppression and prosecution will not continue forever. Sanctions by the international community to counter the North’s nuclear and missile provocations will continuously add to pressure on Pyongyang. North Korean people’s life could deteriorate even worse, and public anger will grow to reach the boiling point. Ultimately, the North Korean human rights issue also cannot be resolved without internal transformation such as a regime change. The international community should mobilize all different means to help more information flow into North Koreans and thereby lead them to become disillusioned and enlightened. Thae Yong-ho, former senior diplomat at the North Korean embassy in London who defected to the South, also said, “The North is already a ship with a hole at the bottom.”