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    April 29, 2016

    The government of North Korea must immediately disclose all details in the court case of U.S. citizen Kim Dong-chul, who was sentenced to 10 years’ hard labour for “spying,” in what appears to be yet another politically motivated decision, said Amnesty International today.

    Kim, a 62-year-old who was born in South Korea, is the latest foreigner to be sentenced to hard labour.

    “The timing of this sentence, amid increasing international tension, calls into question the motivation behind the proceedings. The judicial system is notoriously political, and foreign nationals in particular are very unlikely to receive a fair trial in the country, but few other details have been made public,” said Arnold Fang, East Asia Researcher of Amnesty International.

    “This entire trial has been shrouded in secrecy, and the North Korean authorities must present the evidence for these alleged crimes and make court proceedings fully transparent, so that the international community can see whether a fair trial took place. Otherwise, questions about these convictions will continue.”

    March 08, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT   9 March 2016

    Restrictions on communications compound North Korea’s dire human rights situation

    Ordinary North Koreans caught using mobile phones to contact loved ones who have fled abroad, risk being sent to political prison camps or other detention facilities as the government tightens its stranglehold on people’s use of communication technology, reveals Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    Connection Denied: Restrictions on Mobile Phones and Outside Information in North Korea, documents the intensified controls, repression and intimidation of the population since Kim Jung-un came to power in 2011.

    “To maintain their absolute and systematic control, the North Korean authorities are striking back against people using mobile phones to contact family abroad," said Arnold Fang, East Asia Researcher at Amnesty International.

    December 10, 2015

    The UN Security Council must send an unequivocal message to the North Korean authorities to end the systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations that continue to be committed in the country, when diplomats meet on Thursday to discuss the situation in the country, Amnesty International said.    

    The meeting in New York, marks only the second time the grave human rights situation in North Korea has been discussed at the Security Council.

    “The UN Security Council has a chance to show that the world has not forgotten about the victims of crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in North Korea, and that those responsible will face justice,” said Nicole Bjerler, Deputy Representative at Amnesty International’s UN office in New York.

    “This meeting should serve as a wake-up call to the North Korean authorities to put an immediate end to the systematic, widespread and grave human rights violations that persist in the country. A starting point would be for them to cooperate with the UN and let independent human rights monitors into the country.”

    November 18, 2014

    A key UN vote has sent a clear message to the North Korean government that those responsible for crimes against humanity must face justice, Amnesty International said.

    On Tuesday, the UN General Assembly Third Committee in New York passed a resolution condemning North Korea for systemic, widespread and gross human rights violations, including crimes against humanity, that continue to be committed in the country.

    Nicole Bjerler, Amnesty International’s representative at the UN in New York commented:

    “UN Member States have today sent an unequivocal message to the North Korean government that those responsible for crimes against humanity in the country must face justice.

    “This is a landmark resolution in which the international community makes clear it stands with the victims of human rights violations in North Korea, where the gravity and nature of the abuses are without parallel in the modern world.

    November 18, 2014

    United Nations member states should vote in favor of a landmark resolution on the human rights situation in North Korea which seeks to advance justice for crimes against humanity, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights said today. The General Assembly will consider the resolution, which has been cosponsored by more than 50 UN members, in its third committee on November 18, 2014.

    June 06, 2014

    North Korean authorities must release all those detained solely for their religious beliefs, said Amnesty International, following reports that an American tourist has been arrested after he left a Bible at a hotel.

    The state news agency KCNA said the man had entered North Korea on 29 April and was detained when he tried to leave the country.
    “Leaving behind a Bible in a hotel room, whether by accident or by design, should never amount to a criminal offence,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

    “There is also close to zero chance there would be a fair trial as North Korea’s court system makes a mockery of justice.”

    Reports of the latest arrest comes days after a South Korean missionary was sentenced to hard labour for life. Kim Jong-uk was convicted of spying and setting up an underground church, KCNA reported on Saturday.

    According to the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea, countless numbers of nationals and foreigners have been severely punished as a result of their attempt to practice their religious beliefs.

    March 28, 2014

    A key UN vote has sent a clear message to the North Korean government that those responsible for crimes against humanity must face justice, said Amnesty International.

    The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva passed a resolution on Friday condemning North Korea for systemic, widespread and gross human rights violations, including crimes against humanity, that continue to be committed in the country.  

    “This is a strong resolution and the message sent to the North Korean authorities could not be clearer. Crimes against humanity will not be tolerated and those responsible must face justice,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.  

    “The international community must build on this momentum and increase pressure on North Korea to end its incomprehensible crimes. Human rights must take centre stage at the UN Security Council when it considers peace and security in the Korean Peninsula.”

    The resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority. China and five other countries voted against it and there were 11 abstentions.

    March 19, 2014
    By Salil Shetty, Special to CNN Original published for CNN

    The resounding victory for Kim Jong  Un in North Korea’s parliamentary elections this past week reflects the  “absolute support” of people in the country, according to state media.

    However, it’s doubtful such support includes the  hundreds of thousands of people – including children – that languish in  political prison camps and other detention facilities. Or those that have been the victims of  crimes against humanity as documented in a chilling U.N. report made  public last month.  Indeed, the  U.N. Commission of Inquiry report was unprecedented, stating: “The  gravity, scale and nature of these violations…does not have any parallel  in the contemporary world.”

    When  the full horror of the atrocities committed by North Korea against its own citizens was laid bare, support for the  Commission’s comprehensive findings was swift among many in the  international community. But such statements of support will not bring  to an end the systematic torture, executions,  rape, or forced labor inflicted upon North Koreans by their own  government. Nor will it ensure those responsible for these crimes  against humanity are brought to justice.

    February 17, 2014

    The United Nations Security Council must increase pressure on North Korea to address the horrific human rights situation in the country, Amnesty International said following publication of a damning UN report.

    “The gruesome reality of life in North Korea is laid bare in the Commission’s comprehensive report. The gravity and nature of human rights violations are off the scale,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

    The UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea – tasked with investigating grave, systemic and widespread human rights violations in the country – published its final report on Monday.

    December 04, 2013

    Posted at 0001 GMT 5 December 2013

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    North Korea’s vast infrastructure of repression is further exposed in new satellite images showing the on-going development of two of the country’s largest political prison camps, Amnesty International discloses today.

    In a comprehensive assessments of camps 15 and 16 - known as kwanliso - Amnesty International found new housing blocks, an expansion of production facilities, and continued tight security.

    The analysis, along with newly released testimonies, is included in Amnesty International’s latest briefing North Korea: Continued Investment in the Infrastructure of Repression. 

    A former security official at kwanliso 16 – the largest political prison camp in North Korea – has never spoken publicly before. He describes detainees being forced to dig their own graves and women being raped and then disappearing.

    June 21, 2013

    A North Korean government ministry’s latest threat of harsh punishment against people leaving North Korea without permission renews concerns about freedom of movement in a country with a deplorable human rights record, Amnesty International said.

    On 19 June the state news agency published a statement by the Ministry of People’s Security of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea), vowing to “take substantial measures to physically remove despicable human scum” who leave the country without permission – an act the government views as treason. The statement added “Sordid human scum will never be able to look up to the sky nor be able to find an inch of land to be buried after their death”.

    “Nobody should be detained, prosecuted or punished in any way simply for exercising their right to freedom of movement by leaving North Korea,” said Catherine Baber, Director of the Asia-Pacific Programme at Amnesty International.

    May 02, 2013

    North Korea’s Supreme Court in Pyongyang has reportedly sentenced a US national of Korean origin to 15 years of hard labour in the country’s infamous prison camps today after finding him guilty of various unspecified crimes against the nation.

    Pae Jun-Ho (also known as Kenneth Bae), 44, was arrested in November 2012 in the north-eastern port city of Rason, a special economic zone near North Korea's border with China. He had been operating as a tour guide for a group of five European nationals, who were immediately deported. Since his arrest, he had been held in solitary confinement and had limited consular support.

    Rajiv Narayan, Amnesty International’s North Korea Researcher, said:

    “The North Korean justice system makes a mockery of international fair trial standards – this case appears to be no exception. Kenneth Bae had no access to a lawyer. It is not even known what he was charged with.”

    “Kenneth Bae should be released, unless he is charged with an internationally recognisable criminal offence and retried by a competent, independent and impartial court”.

    March 21, 2013

    The North Korean government must co-operate fully with a new UN investigation - the Commission of Inquiry - into grave, systematic and widespread human rights violations in the country, Amnesty International said.

    The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva passed without a vote a resolution to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations in North Korea.
    Rajiv Narayan, North Korea Researcher for Amnesty International, said:

    “The Commission of Inquiry is a positive step towards addressing the dire human rights situation in North Korea. UN Member States have today sent a clear message to the North Korean authorities that those responsible for crimes against humanity will ultimately be held to account.

    “Millions of people in North Korea suffer extreme forms of repression. Hundreds of thousands, including children, remain in political prison camps and other forms of detention where forced hard labour, torture and other ill treatment is systemic.

    March 07, 2013

    Analysis of new satellite images shows the North Korean government is blurring the lines between its political prison camps and the surrounding population, Amnesty International said on Thursday, as it reiterated its call for UN Member States to establish an independent Commission of Inquiry into grave, systematic and widespread human rights violations in North Korea—including crimes against humanity. 

    Responding to reports of the possible construction of a new political prison camp, Kwan-li-so, adjacent to Camp No. 14 in Kaechon, South Pyongan Province, Amnesty International USA’s (AIUSA) Science for Human Rights program commissioned satellite imagery and analysis of the area from the commercial provider DigitalGlobe. 

    Analysts found that from 2006 to February 2013, North Korea constructed 20km of perimeter around the Ch’oma-Bong valley -- located 70km north-northeast of Pyongyang -- and its inhabitants, new controlled access points and a number of probable guard towers.  Analysts also found construction of new buildings that appear to house workers, likely associated with an expansion of mining activity in the region.

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