NEW YORK, Oct. 6 (UPI) — North Koreans continue to suffer wide-scale human rights abuses, and the international community should do more to ask Pyongyang to bear responsibility, the United Nations special rapporteur on North Korea said on Tuesday.
Marzuki Darusman told Voice of America that a North Korea human rights situation report filed with the 70th Session of the U.N. General Assembly noted ongoing abuses, including summary executions, abductions, enforced disappearances and human trafficking still take place on a large scale.
The special rapporteur said political prison camp inmates, overseas North Korean workers and people with disabilities in North Korea are the most affected, Yonhap reported, and said all political prisoners and abductees should be released. He also said North Korea must permit freedom of communication. Separated families in the North and South should be allowed to use phone and email to communicate with each other, he said.
“North Koreans and their families, both at home and abroad, have suffered abuses for too long,” Darusman said, according to South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, He added U.N. member states should eradicate forced labor practices in their countries.
In September, The Telegraph reported in European member states Poland and Malta, North Korean workers were grinding away as “forced laborers,” and a British human rights group had demanded an end to the practice.
Darusman said North Korea’s human rights situation should be referred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and that the international community should do more to protect the rights of ordinary North Koreans, by asking the perpetrators to bear responsibility for abuses. To that end, the U.N. General Assembly could adopt a North Korea human rights resolution in order to address the institutions and individuals responsible for crimes against humanity.
North Korea has slammed the U.N. for criticisms of its human rights record, and has said the evidence “is nothing more than lies from North Korean defectors, whose testimonies cannot be corroborated.”