The U.S. State Department said Thursday that last year, North Korea’s prison camps, torture, public executions, interrogation of children and other mistreatments of people were among the worst on world record.
"Systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations," and "crimes against humanity,” were what 2014’s U.N. Commission of Inquiry (COI) stated, according to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
The rights report claimed, "The human rights record of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) remained among the worst in the world and came under particular scrutiny this year." It also said, "Defectors continued to report public executions, disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture, and there were reports of severe punishment of repatriated refugees.”
The North’s government had "rigid controls over most aspects of their lives, including denial of freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, association, movement, and religion or belief, while limiting workers' rights, and denying citizens the ability to change their government.”
The report for this year was similar to last year, but for the COI addition.
This major report by the U.N. shined light on the North’s dire circumstances, and the U.N. General Assembly is asking the issue be brought before the International Criminal Court. It is also the first time the U.N. Security Council has the problem on the official agenda.
Pyongyang has a long history of human rights violations, including a communist regime that does not permit questioning, holds thousands in prison camps, and controls information from the world (particularly the west) and even interrogates school children about their parent’s drug use.
The North claims this is the U.S.’s attempt to overpower them.
Secretary of State John Kerry said about the report, "Now, we understand that some governments may take issue with these reports, including such extreme cases as North Korea or Syria, but also some governments with whom we work closely may also object. But I want to say something about that. I think it's important.”
North Korea’s continued human rights violations continue to be the subject of debate for the U.N.