A report by Freedom House concludes that the North Korean prison camps breach almost every definition of crimes against humanity under modern international law.
“The phenomena of repression associated with the political prison camp system of (North Korea) are clear and massive crimes against humanity as now defined in law,” said the report, written by David Hawk.
Among other abuses, it said, camp officials and guards are regularly able to have sexual relations with female prisoners under circumstances judged to constitute rape or sexual violence.
Prisoners “are subjected, usually for a lifetime, to forced labor under extremely severe circumstances, beginning with the provision of below-subsistence level food rations.”
Inmates were regularly subjected to beatings and sometimes more systematic torture for breaking minor regulations.
The high rates of deaths in detention from malnutrition, starvation, exhaustion from forced labor and disease “would likely be deemed by legal scholars and judges to constitute the crime of humanity of extermination, the report said.