UN inquiry decries North Korea's widespread abuses

Testimony by North Koreans exiles, including former political prison camp inmates, points to patterns that may amount to widespread and systematic violations by the state, United Nations human rights investigators said in their first report on Tuesday.

Findings 'fabricated and invented by forces hostile' to North Korea, says North Korean official

Ahn Myung-chul, who worked at several North Korean political prisoner camps in the 1990s before defecting to the south, spoke before the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea, in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man) (Lee Jin-man/The Associated Press)

Testimony by North Koreans exiles, including former political prison camp inmates, points to patterns that may amount to widespread and systematic violations by the state, United Nations human rights investigators said in their first report on Tuesday.

Camp survivors suffered "starvation and unspeakable atrocities" and their individual testimonies given at public hearings in Seoul and Tokyo last month are not isolated cases, said Michael Kirby, head of the independent inquiry.

"They are representative of large-scale patterns that may constitute systematic and gross human rights violations," Kirby told the UN Human Rights Council. He said the inquiry would seek to determine which institutions and officials were responsible.

North Korean official rejects findings

North Korea on Tuesday rejected these findings as part of a political plot "fabricated and invented by forces hostile" to Pyongyang.

North Korean ambassador So Se Pyong, addressing the UN Human Rights Council, said: "Such a mechanism is only a product of politicization of human rights on the part of the EU and Japan in alliance with the U.S. hostile policy against the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)."

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