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UN Report: North Korea's Human Rights Abuses Are 'Systematic and Widespread'
NK Rights

Reporter:

The panel members heard testimony from 240 witnesses including several defectors from North Korea. The commission concluded, based on the evidence, in many cases the country committed crimes against humanity.


Michael Kirby:

It’s a unanimous report, it’s a report which speaks of the great wrongs that have been done to the people of North Korea, and which calls for attention from the international community.


Reporter:

UN investigators say political prisoners are subjected to torture, rape, and other forms of violence. They estimate the number of people in political prison camps is between 80-thousand and 120-thousand, even though leaders in Pyongyang deny their existence. The report also recognizes the abduction of foreign nationals by North Korean authorities is systematic. They believe agents may have abducted more than 200,000 people including more than 100 Japanese citizens. The commission acknowledges officials use land, naval and intelligence forces for abduction. They say operations were approved at the level of the supreme leader 


Members of human rights groups in Japan welcomed the report. They held a news conference in Tokyo. Shigeru Yokota and his wife Sakie attended. Their daughter Megumi was abducted to the North in 1977 when she was only 13.


Sakie Yokota / Abductee's mother:

I think whether the UN Security Council sincerely discusses this issue and takes action is crucial. It took many years for us to see the world starting to understand the situation.


Kanae Doi:

We continue to push Japanese government, as well as other key governments who sit at the Human Rights Council to adopt the very strong resolution to put this human right situation on North Korea at the Security Council.

 

Reporter:

Japanese Abduction Issue Minister, Keiji Furuya, called the report unprecedented. He said the findings are in depth. North Korean leaders have rejected the report. Their UN representative said they have been no cases of human rights abuse in the country. Investigators are now advising the UN they should refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.

 
 

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Thailand's Anti-government Protesters Vow to Sabotage Elections

In Thailand, anti-government protesters are ramping up their efforts to disrupt this weekend’s general election.  They wanted a postponement, but Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra refused. Here’s NHK.


Reporter:

Yingluck met with members of the electoral commission. They urged her to put off the poll something that Thai constitutional court ruled would be legal. They said a fair election is unlikely given the current situation, but the prime minister didn’t agree. So the vote will go ahead. Demonstrators are vowing  to stop it. Already they’ve been sabotaging absentee voting.  They want Yingluck to resign because they feel her brother, exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, exerts too much influence.  Protest leader and former deputy prime minister, Suthep Thaugsuban, denounced Yingluck for ignoring the will of the people.


Suthep Thaugsuban:

We must continue the fight. And expand our protests to topple the Yingluck’s government.


Reporter:

Suthep called on demonstrators to surround the offices of security authorities. The government declared a state of emergency last week for Bangkok and the surrounding area to maintain security ahead of the election.

 

 
 

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