There are an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 political prisoners in North Korea, a nation of 24 million people.
After the release of the report by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea, many country representatives supported the call to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court.
Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans are believed to have perished in the camps over the past half century, “gradually eliminated through deliberate starvation, forced labor, executions, torture,’’ the report said.
“The EU believes that it is imperative that there be no impunity for those responsible for human rights violations,’’ EU representative to the UN in Geneva, Mariangela Zappia, told the council. Along with Japan, the European Union is drafting a resolution on North Korea to be voted on by the council next week.
However, North Korea’s key ally China, which has a veto at the UN Security Council, reiterated on Monday that it rejects any referral of North Korean rights abuse cases to the ICC. The recent inclusion of China and Russia in the rotating membership of the Human Rights Council may even prevent the initial resolution needed to push the case to New York.