UK & World News
North Korea Regime Compared To Nazis By UN
An unprecedented study into human rights abuses in North Korea has detailed the government's alleged crimes against humanity.
The UN inquiry's report said that police and security forces "systematically employ violence and punishments that amount to gross human rights violations".
It added that torture is an "established feature of the interrogation process", and that food is used as a means of control over the population.
Inquiry chairman Michael Kirby said the crimes were "strikingly similar" to Nazi-era atrocities.
He said: "At the end of the Second World War, so many people said: If only we had known ... Now the international community does know. There will be no excusing of failure of action because we didn't know."
He said the number of officials likely to be responsible for the gravest crimes potentially runs "into hundreds", and told Sky News the findings of his report are "gruesome".
However, the secretive regime said the report was based on material faked by hostile forces backed by the United States, the European Union and Japan.
In a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, the commissioners said they would recommend the situation be referred to the International Criminal Court.
They said the court could "render accountable all those, including possibly yourself, who may be responsible for the crimes against humanity referred to in this letter and in the commission's report."
The report strongly criticised North Korea's denial of basic freedoms of thought, expression and religion, and its abduction of citizens of neighbouring South Korea and Japan.
It said: "Systemic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, its institutions and officials."
The United States said the report "clearly and unequivocally documents the brutal reality" of North Korea's human rights abuses.
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said it reflected "the international community's consensus view that the human rights situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is among the world's worst."
The findings came out of a year-long investigation involving public testimony by defectors, including former prison camp guards, at hearings in South Korea, Japan, Britain and the United States.
Defectors included Shin Dong-hyuk, who gave shocking accounts of his life and escape from a prison camp. As a 13-year-old, he informed a prison guard of a plot by his mother and brother to escape and both were executed, according to a book on his life called "Escape from Camp 14".
The report said that military spending "has always been prioritised, even during periods of mass starvation."
It added the state used "deliberate starvation" to control and punish, which has resulted in deaths.
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