THE United Nations has named a team of three human rights investigators to probe allegations of torture and labour camps in North Korea said to hold at least 200,000 people.
Kim Jong-un’s regime denies having such camps and is not expected to co-operate with the investigation, having denounced it during a UN Human Rights Council debate. Last month the BBC screened a Panorama special including images of an alleged labour camp in North Korea.
The one-year inquiry aims to gather enough information from survivors and exiles to document violations that may amount to crimes against humanity for a prosecution case.
“There is sufficient evidence outside North Korea about what is happening inside, so the government can’t keep a lid on it any more. That’s why this investigation is so needed,” said Julie de Rivero of Human Rights Watch. Michael Donald Kirby, a former Australian high court judge, and Sonja Biserko, a founder of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, will join Indonesia’s Marzuki Darusman, its special rapporteur on North Korea, on the team.
The council unanimously passed a resolution proposed by the European Union and Japan, and backed by the United States, to set up the inquiry.