North Korean regime feels shamed today after its long-range rocket
malfunctioned during a test flight last week. And while the world focuses on
whether this rogue nation will detonate a nuclear bomb to remind everyone that
it is a military force to be reckoned with, these acts of political
gamesmanship serve to distract the international community from the massive
human rights violations taking place in North Korean gulags.
Committee For Human Rights in North Korea just issued a report
(PDF file) that reveals at
least 150,000 North Koreans are being held as political prisoners in gulags.
For most, it is a death sentence.
are placed on starvation diets and work until they die. Some are executed for
their conduct within the camp, such as attempting to get extra food rations.
Torture and forced abortions frequently occur.
these prisoners have in common is that they have committed political "crimes"
that the regime considers a threat to its existence. There are no trials; due
process and the rule of law are nonexistent.
is the time for the international community to band together to bring those
responsible to justice for crimes against humanity. To wait enables North Korea
to develop the technology for threatening the world with nuclear missiles,
thereby precluding action against the regime.
question remains as to whether China will support action to end the gulags and
prosecute the culpable. If diplomatic focus is on the mass human rights abuses
occurring, instead of geopolitical warfare between East and West, perhaps China
will do the right thing.
a fallback position, China and the international community should consider a
scenario where all North Korean political prisoners are exiled to South Korea
and the gulags are permanently closed.
Report sheds fresh
light on North Korean gulag, BBC News (Apr. 10, 2012)
Turning a blind eye
to North Korea's 'hidden gulag', Washington Post (Apr. 12, 2012)
Over 150,000 people
living in secret North Korean gulags, Global Post (Apr. 11, 2012)