AN INTERNATIONAL Christian-rights group has urged the United
Nations to refer North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong-un, to the
International Criminal Court, after a UN investigation accused the
country of human-rights abuses on an almost inconceivable
The chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Mervyn
Thomas, said: "The UN and all member states now have a
responsibility to act upon the recommendations of the commission of
inquiry, and ensure that this report does not sit on a shelf, but
serves as a plan of action to end the suffering of the North Korean
people and hold the perpetrators of crimes against humanity to
"The world's worst human-rights crisis, in the world's most
closed nation, can no longer be its most forgotten. From this day
on, no one can claim they did not know. The world now knows, and it
is now time to act."
The commission's report says that the regime "considers the
spread of Christianity a particularly severe threat", and, as a
result, "Christians are prohibited from practising their religion,
and are persecuted." Severe punishments are inflicted on people
caught practising Christianity.
It goes on: "There is an almost complete denial of the right to
freedom of thought, conscience,and religion, as well as the
rightsto freedom of opinion, expres-sion, information, and
State surveillance permeates private lives, and virtually no
expression critical of the political system goes undetected.
The commission finds that "the gravity, scale, and nature" of
the violations of human rights "reveal a state that does not have
any parallel in the contemporary world".
Its 400-page report, based on first-hand testimony, tells of
"unspeakable atrocities". It details crimes against humanity,
including "extermination, murder, enslavement, torture,
imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence,
persecution on political, religious, racial, and gender grounds,
the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of
persons, and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged
Violations of the rights to food and to freedom of movement have
resulted in women and girls' becoming vulnerable to trafficking and
forced sex-work outside the country. Many flee, mainly to China,
"despite the high chance that they will be apprehended and forcibly
repatriated, then subjected to persecution, torture, prolonged
arbitrary detention, and, in some cases, sexual violence.
"Repatriated women who are pregnant are regularly subjected to
forced abortions, and babies born to repatriated women are often
killed," the report stated.
An estimated 80,000 to 120,000 political prisoners are currently
detained in four political prison camps, where "deliberate
starvation has been used as a means of control and punishment."
The report's recommendations include targeted sanctions, an
extension of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur for Human
Rights in North Korea, and the establishment of a UN-mandated
structure and database "to help to ensure accountability".
It also calls on China to end the forcible repatriation of North