China, North Korea: Human Rights Report 'Divorced From Reality'

Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 01:41 PM

By Nick Sanchez

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A Chinese representative renounced a recent U.N. report detailing North Korea's alleged human right abuses as "divorced from reality" at a session of the Human Rights Council Monday.

Human rights advocates fear it's a sign that China will block North Korea from seeing the International Criminal Court, reports CNN.

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Before leaving the meeting altogether, the representative from Pyongyang, So Se Pyong, accused the commission of being motivated by "lies" and "hostile forces." He said the testimonies by so-called defectors were really fabrications created by criminals who escaped, and that the report was meant to "defame the dignified image of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and eventually eliminate its social system."

The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea published the 400-page report of the rampant torture this past February.

"The U.N. hasn't produced anything like it before," The Wall Street Journal wrote in a recent op-ed.

"Most U.N. human-rights inquiries conduct their research more or less in secret and then publish coldly analytical summaries, but the North Korea commission held public hearings around the world and then cited specific testimony to buttress its factual assertions."

The report was produced after a yearlong investigation and included more than 320 witnesses. Abuses documented include a mother who was forced to drown her newborn, widespread beatings and torture, as well as corpses being eaten by dogs.

"Contending with the scourges of Nazism, apartheid, the Khmer Rouge and other affronts required great courage by great nations and ordinary human beings alike," Commission Chair Michael Kirby said. "It is now your solemn duty to address the scourge of human rights violations and crimes against humanity in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea."

With China rejecting the authenticity of the report, it is unlikely North Korea will be referred to the ICC, as it could veto any such effort at the Security Council.

"The inability of the commission to get support and cooperation from the country concerned makes it impossible for the commission to carry out its mandate in an impartial, objective and effective manner," China's representative said.

According to The Wall Street Journal, action may be possible on one front, however: the relocation of refugees. Currently, Beijing insists on repatriating North Korean refugees. It's possible they can be shamed into classifying North Korean defectors as refugees and facilitate their relocation to South Korea instead. 

"This would create a new, albeit still dangerous, escape route for desperate North Koreans," the representative said. 

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