North Korea: No Justice Five Years After Kim Jong-Il’s Death
Legacy of Crimes Against Humanity Still Require UN Action
(Seoul) – As North Korea prepares to commemorate the fifth anniversary of former North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il’s death on December 17, the world should redouble pressure for action against North Korea’s legacy of crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said today. The UN General Assembly should act decisively on its opportunity to condemn these most severe rights violations in North Korea by adopting by consensus a resolution on North Korea human rights.
Soldiers walk under pictures of former North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at the capital's main ceremonial square after a mass rally and parade on May 10, 2016.
EXPAND Soldiers walk under pictures of former North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at the capital's main ceremonial square after a mass rally and parade on May 10, 2016.
“Kim Jong-Il’s rule should be remembered for its sheer brutality, repression, and ruthlessness – and especially for the deaths of millions from his misrule during the years of famine in the mid-1990s,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Rather than honoring Kim Jong-Il on the 5th anniversary of his death, the North Korean people should demand that those responsible for crimes under his rule, and crimes that continue under the rule of his son Kim Jong Un, be brought before an international tribunal.”
Kim Jong-Il took over as leader of North Korea in 1994, after the death of his father Kim Il-Sung. Kim Jong-Il’s economic mismanagement and brutal policies led to a severe famine that killed millions of North Koreans and steered scarce food to the military and ruling party cadres instead.
Kim Jong-Il’s rights-abusing legacy also included strictly limiting access to information and attempting to restrict freedom of movement during the deadly onset of starvation in the multi-year famine known as the Arduous March. Despite these restrictions, tens of thousands of North Koreans managed to flee the country during his almost twenty years in power. However, Kim Jong-Il set out a clear policy that leaving the country without official permission was considered an act of treason. Those sent to prison camps after being caught trying to flee the country have been subjected to detention, torture, sexual abuse, and forced labor. .................