Today, I lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament marking the publication of the most recent UN Report on the situation in North Korea. The parliamentary lexicon can make it difficult to fully describe the litany of horrors that ordinary citizens in North Korea (officially and perversely titled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) face on a daily basis. The use of sexual assault as a weapon of control by the state; the strict and long-lasting stratification of North Korean society, where a grandson or granddaughter can live out their life in a prison camp for no reason other than the identity of a grandparent; the arbitrary “justice” meted out to citizens for “crimes” such as using a newspaper with a picture of Kim Jong-il to mop up a spilt drink, or forcing new mothers, who gave birth with no medical assistance, to kill their own babies, and the deaths of tens if not hundreds of thousands of people in massive, sprawling prison camps akin to those used to such devastating and evil effect by Nazi Germany are just some of the crimes against humanity detailed in the report. It is a damning condemnation of a regime without legitimacy or any semblance of humanity, and an urgent call to action to the international community, who must act to bring the perpetrators of this Hell on Earth before the International Criminal Court. The report can be accessed here and is a chilling but essential read to understand why the work of human rights organisations worldwide must continue. Amnesty International have done further research into the prison camp system in the police state of North Korea which can be accessed via this link.
My motion is below- please encourage your MSPs to sign it if they haven’t already done so. Although one motion in the Scottish Parliament will not on its own achieve change, it can add to the growing international consensus that something must be done to alleviate the suffering of the North Korean people.
Motion Number: S4M-09059
Lodged By: Jean Urquhart
Date Lodged: 18/02/2014
Title: Human Rights Abuses in North Korea
That the Parliament notes the publication of the Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by the UN Human Rights Council; understands that among the issues investigated by the commission of inquiry were violations of freedom of the press, expression, religion, movement and to the right to life and the country’s use of political prison camps, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances; considers that the findings, which suggest evidence of forcing mothers to commit infanticide, the widespread use of rape, sexual abuse and torture by the state and its officials and the use of intergenerational punishment. demonstrate the depravity of the North Korean regime and what it sees as that country’s blatant disregard for humanity and human rights; believes that the absolute control of the North Korean state over the lives of its citizens, the deliberate blocking of aid for ideological reasons, the cult of personality surrounding its three leaders since the Korean War and the use of political prison camps with little or no due process for prisoners plumb the depths of what human beings are capable of; supports the report’s belief that “the gravity, scale and nature” of its findings “reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world”; considers comparisons with Nazi Germany and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four to be apposite, and calls on the international community to take action to release the North Korean people from what it sees as their nightmarish existence and to bring to justice those responsible for these crimes against humanity.