After a year-long investigation, the United Nations has concluded that there have been "systematic, widespread and grave" violations of human rights in North Korea.
In a detailed report released Monday, the UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea defined the abuses as "crimes against humanity," which means that most of them were based on policies and decisions made by the North Korean regime in an effort to maintain a grip on power.
The report said the international community has the responsibility to protect North Koreans by applying the so-called "Responsibility to Protect" status to the communist state, and urged the UN Security Council to refer the North Korean regime to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
The crimes in the North are spread over nine areas: violations of freedom of expression, ideology and religion, discrimination based on origin, violations of the right to movement, violations of the right to food, which then leads to issues regarding the right to life, arbitrary detention, torture, execution and violations associated to prison camps, and abductions of foreigners.
The chairman of the UN inquiry, Michael Kirby, in a personal letter written to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last month, has warned that the commission will recommend the UN to refer the situation in the North to the ICC to [quote] "render accountable all those, including possibly Kim, who may be responsible for the crimes against humanity."
The report also called for stronger and continued UN efforts to enhance the human rights situation in the North, such as setting up an organization that could be in charge of follow-up measures to the investigation.
Eoh Jin-joo, Arirang News.