UK & World News

  • 5 December 2013, 9:47

North Korea: 'Rape And Torture' In Prison Camps

The alleged rape and torture of prisoners in North Korea's labour camps has been revealed as new satellite images show the extent to which the complexes are growing.

In a briefing published by Amnesty International, housing blocks, security and production facilities can be seen within two sprawling camps, known as Kwanliso 15 and 16.

The report features a testimony from a former security official, referred to as Mr Lee, who has never spoken publicly before.

He describes detainees being forced to dig their own graves and women being raped and then disappearing.

Amnesty is calling for the North Korean government to close the two camps where prisoners, including children, live inhorrendous conditions and face torture and execution.

Many of them are malnourished or die from forced labour.

The report's authorRajiv Narayansaid: "Under its new leader Kim Jong-un, North Korea is violating every conceivable human right.

"The camps are a gruesome and powerful tool at the heart of a vast network of repression.

"People are sent to the political prison camps without charge, let alone a trial, many of them simply for knowing someone who has fallen out of favour.

"We are calling on the North Korean authorities to acknowledge the existence of the camps, close them, and grant unhindered access to independent human rights monitors like Amnesty International."

Amnesty has shared the latest evidence with the UN Commission of Inquiry investigating human rights abuses in North Korea.

Kwanliso 16, near Hwaseong in North Hamgyong province, is approximately 215 square miles.

It is one of the least investigated areas in the vast political prison camp system. In 2011, an estimated 20,000 people were believed to be imprisoned there.

The latest images show newly-built housing blocks and signs of economic activity such as mining, logging and agriculture.

Kwanliso 15 covers an area of 142 square miles, and is located in central North Korea around 45 miles from the capital Pyongyang.

In 2011, an estimated 50,000 people were imprisoned in the camp, with the population concentrated in river valleys.

However the new images show that some of the housing blocks have been demolished, suggesting there might have been a decrease in its population.