North Korean citizens are apparently "happy with pride and honor that they have one of the best systems for promotion and protection of human rights in the world," according to the country's envoy to the U.N. Human Rights Council. That, apparently, was not enough to convince the United Nations, which is likely to vote late this month to establish a commission to look into the way the country treats its people. Indeed, the only people who may believe that North Korea is a happy Shangri-La of human rights — a land where unicorn lairs live on and citizens don't have to turn to cannibalism to survive — might be North Koreans themselves, who are told on a consistent basis that they're living in the best country on earth... and that everyone wants to visit.
Meanwhile, reports like the one submitted to the U.N. this week by Indonesian lawyer Marzuki Darusman, continue to accuse North Korea of "human rights violations including kidnapping of foreign nationals, torture, and a gulag system thought to hold up to 200,000 prisoners," according to Reuters. Google Maps plotted those gulags in January, and we've even heard chilling tales from people who escaped that extensive and cruel prison system, like Shin Dong-hyuk, who told 60 Minutes what it was like to be born into a North Korean concentration camp, where he was, among other things, hungry for 23 straight years:
Anderson Cooper: So for 23 years you were always hungry?
Shin Dong-hyuk: Yes. Of course. We were always hungry. And the guards always told us, "Through hunger you will repent."
You don't have to be a U.N. official or Dennis Rodman to understand that a story like that does not sound like "one of the best systems for promotion and protection of human rights in the world." The U.N. will now create a three-person commission to look into those violations, which will run for a year.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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