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Rights body urged to stop 'gulags'

Call to shut down country’s brutal prison camp system

  • Mike MacLachlan, London
  • United Kingdom
  • April 3, 2012
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A worldwide coalition of more than 40 rights groups petitioned the United Nations today to act against North Korea’s “gulags”.

The International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK) called on the UN to help shut down the country’s prison camp system thought to hold as many as 200,000 people.

Not only alleged dissidents but their entire families are detained and subjected to forced labour in the camps.

Their suffering is “one of the most serious human rights and humanitarian disasters in the world today,” said Jared Genser, pro bono counsel to the ICNK, an umbrella group for Asian and worldwide rights groups including Human Rights Watch.

The petition, submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, asks for an investigation and report on conditions in the camps, similar to one conducted on the US camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006.

This recommended closure of the camp. It failed to achieve this, but resulted in a reduction of the number of terrorist suspects held there, says ICNK.
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