A UN report on North Korea has found serious human rights abuses in the nation. The country responded by calling the text’s findings falsified.
A UN panel recommended that North Korea be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to a report released Monday by the United Nations.
"Systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, its institutions and officials," the report found. "In many instances, the violations of human rights found by the commission constitute crimes against humanity."
The three-member panel led by the former Australian judge Michael Kirby put together the 372-page report over the course of a year of research that involved taking the accounts of North Korean defectors given at hearings in South Korea, the United States, Britain and Japan. Though the panel members were not allowed into North Korea, they had access to satellite maps, which they used to confirm the existence of prison camps within the country.
"At the end of the second World War, so many people said, 'If only we had known ...'" Kirby said at a press conference Monday to announce the report's findings. "There will be no excusing of failure of action because we didn't know."
US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said the report "clearly and unequivocally documents the brutal reality of North Korea."
North Korea's government, however, "categorically and totally" rejected the report, calling it faked and a conspiracy cooked up by the United States, the European Union and other bodies.
China also came to the defense of its sometimes ally.
"To submit this report to the ICC will not help resolve the human rights situation in the country," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Monday.
mkg/kms (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)