North Korea’s U.N. Ambassador, Ja Song-nam, accused the U.S. of human rights violations as a result of CIA interrogation practices and demanded a U.N. investigation.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has long been referred to as the “Hermit Kingdom” and has been reputed as being viciously repressive. There are almost countless reports from escaped North Koreans of the inhuman practices that make up the North Korean penal system. One such story comes from a former North Korean prison camp resident named Hyuk Kim.
Kim was just 16 when he was arrested while living on the streets of North Korea. After his arrest, Kim was sent to one of several North Korean work camps. Seventeen years after his initial arrest, Kim has the ability to speak of his time in the prison camp from the safety of Seoul, South Korea.
“At Jungeori, there was no sense of being human, if you thought you were a human being, you couldn’t live there. You were like an animal. You do the hard labor you were ordered to do, that’s it. No thinking. No free will. Just fear… Because you were so hungry, you thought about food and how to get more of it all the time… Sometimes you got lucky and you were able to catch a rat or two as a snack, which you’d skin, dry the meat out and eat, usually raw. If you tried to cook the rats, the guards would smell the meat or fire, catch you and beat you mercilessly.”
In the shadow of its citizen’s own accounts, North Korea now accuses the U.S. of similar barbarity. Such accusations come after an effort to investigate North Korea’s own human rights records was placed on the U.N. agenda following a U.S. endorsement.
North Korean U.N. Ambassador Kim stated in reference to the investigatory U.N. agenda, “The so-called ‘human rights issue’ in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is politically fabricated and, therefore, it is not at all relevant to the regional or international peace and security.”
Kim would further go on to counter the U.N.’s proposed investigation into North Korea’s human rights record, by pointing his finger at the U.S. Kim referenced the U.S. Senate’s report describing the various interrogation methods employed by the C.I.A., such as waterboarding, coffin-style confinement, etc.
Kim would finally add that the U.S.’s interrogation tactics were equivalent to the most barbaric form of medieval torture and were among the most severe human rights violations in the world today. Strong words from a man that represents North Korea — the nation who holds what many feel to be the most horrific human rights records of modern times.
[Image Credit to London Evening Standard: Camp 14]