UN condemns North Korea as a tyranny without “any parallel in the contemporary world”

posted at 10:41 am on February 17, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

One cheer for Turtle Bay for stating the blindingly obvious, where concerns over human rights usually takes the form of exclusively bashing Israel. The United Nations committee investigating North Korea condemned the Kim Jong-un regime in unusually blunt and blistering terms, blasting the police state as without “any parallel in the contemporary world,” and called for the regime to face charges in the International Criminal Court:

“Systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed” by the leaders of North Korea against their own people, the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights declared Monday in a report that goes on to accuse that nation’s communist regime of “crimes against humanity.”

According to the U.N. investigators, “the gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.” They conclude, for example, that “hundreds of thousands of political prisoners have perished” in prison camps over the past five decades.

The High Commissioner’s report calls on the U.N. Security Council to “refer the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the International Criminal Court.”

“The United Nations must ensure that those most responsible for the crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are held accountable,” the report concludes.

Strong words, and surprising in the context of international diplomacy. Perhaps one reason for the language is the fact that this came from a commission of inquiry rather than the standing Human Rights Council, which usually wastes its time on Israel while its own members conduct some of the same human-rights violations that the DPRK does. This commission bypassed the HRC, and in one way stands as a stunning indictment of that commission’s focus and work. After all, where has the HRC been on North Korea all these decades?

The press release for the report summarizes the horrors the special commission of inquiry found, but which will surprise no one:

The report noted that the DPRK consists of a rigidly stratified society with entrenched patterns of discrimination. Discrimination is rooted in the songbun system, which classifies people on the basis of State-assigned social class and birth, and also includes consideration of political opinions and religion, and determines where they live, work, study and even whom they may marry.

Violations of the freedom of movement and residence are also heavily driven by discrimination based on songbun. Those considered politically loyal to the leadership can live and work in favourable locations, such as Pyongyang. Others are relegated to a lower status. For example, the distribution of food has prioritised those deemed useful to the survival of the current political system at the expense of others who are “expendable.”

“Confiscation and dispossession of food from those in need, and the provision of food to other groups, follow this logic,” the report notes, adding that “the State has consistently failed in its obligation to use the maximum of its available resources to feed those who are hungry.”

Military spending – predominantly on hardware and the development of weapons systems and the nuclear programme – has always been prioritised, even during periods of mass starvation, the report says. The State also maintains a system of inefficient economic production and discriminatory resource allocation that inevitably produces more avoidable starvation among its citizens.

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 DPRK. Many take the risk of fleeing, 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 states.

The Commission urged all States to respect the principle of non-refoulement (i.e. not to forcibly return refugees to their home country) and to adopt a victim-centric and human rights-based approach to trafficking, including by providing victims with the right to stay in the country and access to legal protection and basic services.

“Crimes against humanity have been, and are being, committed against starving populations. These crimes are sourced in decisions and policies violating the universal human right to food. They were taken for purposes of sustaining the present political system, in full awareness that they would exacerbate starvation and contribute to related deaths.”

The Commission also found that, since 1950, the “State’s violence has been externalized through State-sponsored abductions and enforced disappearances of people from other nations. These international enforced disappearances are unique in their intensity, scale and nature.”

Sounds like great fodder for the ICC, but there’s just one problem: North Korea is not a participant in the ICC, which therefore has no jurisdiction over it. (Neither is the US, due to concerns about exploiting the ICC to target our peacekeeping troops.) The Kim regime in Pyongyang barely recognizes the UN at all, let alone the ICC.

This amounts to little more than a strongly-worded memo. The only way to enforce this would be at the point of a gun, and no one wants another war on the Korean peninsula. At best, it puts more pressure on China to squeeze its client in Pyongyang for more reforms, but don’t expect that to bear much fruit. The only way this regime collapses is from the inside, and the window on that possibility is closing while Kim continues to consolidate power in the family tradition of killing other members of the family.


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Triple exclamation point.

lorien1973 on February 17, 2014 at 10:41 AM

And I’m certain North Korea really gives a rat’s backside about the U.N. and what it thinks.

rplat on February 17, 2014 at 10:43 AM

That’s gonna leave a mark.

/

CurtZHP on February 17, 2014 at 10:44 AM

The answer may be surprisingly simple. Permanently turn out the lights on Pyongyang. It’s the only place in the entire country where there is an infrastructure. Without it, the entire house of cards collapses.

HomeoftheBrave on February 17, 2014 at 10:46 AM

New Binoculars Same Vision

Bmore on February 17, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Wow!!! You know it must be bad when the World Council of Genocidal Thugs (aka The UN) is miffed.

307wolverine on February 17, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Throwing people to starving dogs is so passé, the limp-wrists at the U.N. will issue a memo with bold red type that Chunk Jong Un is really mean.

Bishop on February 17, 2014 at 10:50 AM

And I’m certain North Korea really gives a rat’s backside about the U.N. and what it thinks.

rplat on February 17, 2014 at 10:43 AM

It’s like an unarmed bobby yelling ‘Stop! Or I shall say stop again!’

DinaRehn on February 17, 2014 at 10:50 AM

a tyranny without “any parallel in the contemporary world”

They haven’t spent much time in Africa, I guess. And islamic nations, China, and some Central/South American sh!tholes give the Norks a run for their money.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 17, 2014 at 10:52 AM

It was that the report was written in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS,
highlighted with a yellow felt pen marker,
every sentence ending in exclamation points (!!!!!)
and the five frown faces :-(
at the end of the report that really scared the North Koreans.

albill on February 17, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Walter Duranty Thomas Friedman of the NYT will set the UN straight.

NotCoach on February 17, 2014 at 10:58 AM

a tyranny without “any parallel in the contemporary world”

I bet the ‘leaders’ in Myanmar are seething to have been excluded from this report!

Freddy on February 17, 2014 at 11:01 AM

When does the Obama Regime get a Strongly Worded UN letter?

ConstantineXI on February 17, 2014 at 11:02 AM

The Kim regime in Pyongyang barely recognizes the UN at all, let alone the ICC.

Wait, what, I’m actually supporting North Korea a slightly, little itty-bitty bit? I wish more nations (such as our own, ahem) would blow off the UN & the ICC.

Upsidedown mirror reverse Alice in Wonderland world. Next you’ll be telling me that our Secretary of State is shocked, shocked to discover that Russia is helping Assad to stay in power.

rbj on February 17, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Gee, it took ‘em a while to figure that one out.

NavyMustang on February 17, 2014 at 11:03 AM

AND IT ONLY TOOK THEM 60 YEARS…

Pest on February 17, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Li’l Kim may think of this as a resume’ enhancement.

TimBuk3 on February 17, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Gee thanks UN, I feel so much safer now knowing you have the Norks on your mailing list.

Wallythedog on February 17, 2014 at 11:08 AM

They conclude, for example, that “hundreds of thousands of political prisoners have perished” in prison camps over the past five decades.

Still not as dangerous as global warming.

- Horseface

pain train on February 17, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Wait, isn’t that a typo? I’m sure the UN meant to say *Israel* is the worst. I wasn’t aware that the UN even knew there were other countries spinning together on this globe of ours.

HakerA on February 17, 2014 at 11:13 AM

The UN, like King Barack the Magnificent, excels at STRONGLY WORDED MEMOS.

But don’t expect Kim to be hiding under a table.

GarandFan on February 17, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Wait, isn’t that a typo? I’m sure the UN meant to say *Israel* is the worst. I wasn’t aware that the UN even knew there were other countries spinning together on this globe of ours.

HakerA on February 17, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Lucky for them, they had a couple of approved memos about Israel laying around. They just changed the name of the country and voila! The coordination process at the UN is SUCH a pain in the a$$!

NavyMustang on February 17, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Isn’t this the same group of Mensa rejects that let President Jackass give a speech saying that a video killed Chris Stevens without a peep of rebuttal?

Yeah, I’m real likely to believe something they say. How’s that global warming climate change thingy working out?

platypus on February 17, 2014 at 11:19 AM

What difference at this point does it make?

Shy Guy on February 17, 2014 at 11:25 AM

I am sure that North Korean leaders are trembling in their kimchi over the actions taken by the United Nations.

RZuendt on February 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Wow!!! You know it must be bad when the World Council of Genocidal Thugs (aka The UN) is miffed. – 307wolverine on February 17, 2014 at 10:49 AM

I totally agree.

SC.Charlie on February 17, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Are we still above North Korea in freedom of the press?

I bet not for long.

jukin3 on February 17, 2014 at 11:39 AM

I expect that tomorrow the UN is similar statement about Israel.

SC.Charlie on February 17, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Oops, correction: I expect that tomorrow the UN issues a similar statement about Israel.

SC.Charlie on February 17, 2014 at 11:42 AM

China can change North Korea anytime that it chooses to.

For unspoken geopolitical reasons, China wants to maintain North Korea as an international irritant and distributor of weapons.

pilsener on February 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM

UN condemns North Korea as a tyranny without “any parallel in the contemporary world”

After issuing the condemnation, the UN appoints North Korea to head the UN Human Rights Commission. /

Hill60 on February 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM

I have to wonder what all those ribbons are for on those Military officers. They haven’t had any military action in 60 years. Do they get medals for beating, starving and killing the citizens?

oldernwiser on February 17, 2014 at 11:56 AM

NavyMustang on February 17, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Ahoy shipmate.

wolverine, HM1(SS), USN(Ret.)

307wolverine on February 17, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Hans Blix: Mr. Il, I was supposed to be allowed to inspect your palace today, but your guards won’t let me enter certain areas.

Kim Jong Il: Hans, Hans, Hans! We’ve been frew this a dozen times! I don’t have any weapons of mass destwuction, OK Hans?

Hans Blix: Then let me look around, so I can ease the UN’s collective mind. I’m sorry, but the UN must be firm with you. Let me in, or else.

Kim Jong Il: Or else what?

Hans Blix: Or else we will be very angry with you. And we will write you a letter telling you how angry we are.

2YEP598 on February 17, 2014 at 12:01 PM

From the DOD site,More than 7,500 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.Maybe they ate them.Truman had courage,right?

docflash on February 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM

From the DOD site,More than 7,500 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.Maybe they ate them.Truman had courage,right? – docflash on February 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM

It was Eisenhower who finally brought the war to close, without any peace treaty.

SC.Charlie on February 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM

When does the Obama Regime get a Strongly Worded UN letter?

ConstantineXI on February 17, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Mighty Pharaoh is one of their fellow travelers. The only reason North Korea’s getting any flack is because they’re so blatant about it. No nuance whatsoever.

It’s sort of like that frat member who can’t hold his liquor.

CurtZHP on February 17, 2014 at 12:28 PM

At least the North Korean officers have awesome hats!

KS Rex on February 17, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Comrade Kim is doing dastardly things, but his killing of babies as documented in the report means he can’t be ALL that bad.

Best regards,
Barry

Appalacher on February 17, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Ahoy shipmate.

wolverine, HM1(SS), USN(Ret.)

307wolverine on February 17, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Howzit!

CTIC(NAC), LDO LCDR

Made 4 boat runs: Omaha, 2 on Pollack, Barb.

How about you?

NavyMustang on February 17, 2014 at 12:59 PM

How about you?

NavyMustang on February 17, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Ah, a spook!!! USS SAN FRANCISCO (SSN 711) for me. You still active duty?

307wolverine on February 17, 2014 at 1:01 PM

The only way to enforce this would be at the point of a gun, and no one wants another war on the Korean peninsula.

Why did we go into Iraq again? WMD’s? Atrocities on his own ppl? Let’s be consistent end this nightmare…

formulabuddha on February 17, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Ah, a spook!!! USS SAN FRANCISCO (SSN 711) for me. You still active duty?

307wolverine on February 17, 2014 at 1:01 PM

I retired in 2005 after 25 years. Love the USN, but don’t miss it a bit. Well, a little bit. Miss many of my shipmates.

NavyMustang on February 17, 2014 at 1:11 PM

I’m pretty sure they’ll stop if we give them oil. And food.

/s

NY2SC on February 17, 2014 at 1:16 PM

There are a number of Islamic countries that fit that bill, too.

Blake on February 17, 2014 at 1:30 PM

I retired in 2005 after 25 years. Love the USN, but don’t miss it a bit. Well, a little bit. Miss many of my shipmates.

NavyMustang on February 17, 2014 at 1:11 PM

You’re like the sixth squid I’ve “met” on this forum. It is hard to keep them all straight. Personally, it was bad enough serving under Clinton, but after his disasterous DADT fiasco, he left us alone for the most part. I am glad that I am not serving under Obama.

307wolverine on February 17, 2014 at 1:33 PM

The United Nations committee investigating North Korea condemned the Kim Jong-un regime and called for the regime to face charges in the International Criminal Court. The UN committee unfortunately lacks the testicular fortitude by failing to address the real source of the problem, Red China. Beijing has rewarded North Korean bad behavior for decades. Talk is cheap.

Krupnikas on February 17, 2014 at 2:12 PM

NK does, however, lead the world in Big Hats.

Hucklebuck on February 17, 2014 at 2:46 PM

“The United Nations must ensure that those most responsible for the crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are held accountable,” the report concludes.

Why do people endorse the lie by quoting it?

It is not democratic.
It is not the people’s.
It is not a republic.

Ed, you did it, too, citing the “DPRK.”

Let’s instead call the nation “Giant Korean Dungeon” or something.

itsnotaboutme on February 17, 2014 at 3:50 PM

NK does, however, lead the world in Big Hats.

Hucklebuck on February 17, 2014 at 2:46 PM

That’s because decades of malnourishment has left them all short.

slickwillie2001 on February 17, 2014 at 3:51 PM

“The United Nations must ensure that those most responsible for the crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are held accountable,” the report concludes.

Why do people endorse the lie by quoting it?

It is not democratic.
It is not the people’s.
It is not a republic.

Ed, you did it, too, citing the “DPRK.”

Let’s instead call the nation “Giant Korean Dungeon” or something.

itsnotaboutme on February 17, 2014 at 3:50 PM

We need a new name for the Democratic Party then.

slickwillie2001 on February 17, 2014 at 3:52 PM

At best, it puts more pressure on China to squeeze its client in Pyongyang for more reforms, but don’t expect that to bear much fruit. The only way this regime collapses is from the inside, and the window on that possibility is closing while Kim continues to consolidate power in the family tradition of killing other members of the family.

NK survives only by money from China, right?

If the US announces to the world that we’re going to build a huge military base in Taiwan, China would freak out, right?

We can say, “Cut off aid to the chubby boy dictator, or the base gets built.”

itsnotaboutme on February 17, 2014 at 3:54 PM

I’ve technically been in North Korea (anyone who visits the DMZ at Panmunjom can circle the negotiating table…from the Korean War…and therefore step inside NK, or visit the tunnels and approach NK as well, though not actually in it since they don’t let you get that far along). I lived in South Korea for several years and I have to say that I can think of nowhere on earth where two such extreme variations in economic development border each other so closely. Perhaps there is somewhere else, but I cannot think of it at the moment.

I don’t see a solution, either. A war would cause immense devastation in South Korea, with Seoul so close to NK’s artillery and rocket fire. North Korea’s leadership is without a doubt among the worst actors on the world stage since WW II. The younger generation in South Korea are also too much like our own. They’ve forgotten what it means to sacrifice and struggle and just want a comfortable life. Many are as anti-US as they are anti-North Korea, ignoring the peril on their doorstep that we help keep at bay. They forget that the Korean War would have ended in a unified and democratic Korea if not for the Chinese entering the war. They protest the American presence as if we were the problem.

xNavigator on February 17, 2014 at 5:18 PM

I’m sure North Korea is quaking with fear. The only threat the UN ever poses is to send “observers” with a reputation for child molestation and rape.

But North Korea will sit up and take notice if, pushed by threats from Ft Lee’s Korean community, New Jersey politicians rename North Korea ‘East Sea Land’.

MaiDee on February 17, 2014 at 6:02 PM