In Geneva, former Australian High Court judge Michael Kirby has delivered a report to the United Nations detailing the “unspeakable atrocities” committed in North Korea. Among the findings:

“Systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea … The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world …

“The State’s monopolization of access to food has been used as an important means to enforce political loyalty. The distribution of food has prioritized those who are useful to the survival of the current political system at the expense of those deemed to be expendable … Instead of fully embracing reforms to realize the right to food, however, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea maintains a system of inefficient economic production and discriminatory resource allocation that inevitably produces more unnecessary starvation among its citizens …

“The key to the political system is the vast political and security apparatus that strategically uses surveillance, coercion, fear and punishment to preclude the expression of any dissent. Public executions and enforced disappearance to political prison camps serve as the ultimate means to terrorize the population into submission …

“… the authorities engage in gross human rights violations so as to crack down on ‘subversive’ influences from abroad. These influences are symbolized by films and soap operas from the Republic of Korea and other countries, short-wave radio broadcasts and foreign mobile telephones. For the same reason, the State systematically uses violence and punishment to deter its citizens from exercising their human right to leave the country …”

Meanwhile, in Pyongyang, the Korean Central News Agency reports today:

“There took place sports matches between service personnel of the Command of the Navy and Command of the Air and Anti-Air Force of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) on the occasion of the birth anniversary of leaderKim Jong Il (Day of the Shining Star).

“Supreme Commander of the KPA Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and first chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, watched the matches together with Ri Sol Ju.

“They were divided into two teams, Kalmaegi and Jebi. They competed in basketball and tug of war. The Jebi team won the matches. Prize was awarded to the winner.

“Noting that the sports matches between the two teams were played at a high level on the occasion of the significant Day of the Shining Star, Kim Jong Un expressed expectation and belief that the KPA would take the lead in raising a strong wind of sports throughout the country in the future, too.

“Among the spectators were Ri Yong Gil, Jang Jong Nam, So Hong Chan, Kim Myong Sik, Ri Pyong Chol and other commanding officers and service personnel of the KPA.”

Peter Fray

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