The government of North Korea has responded with signature bombast to the news that the United Nations is opening an office in South Korea dedicated to studying and combating human rights abuses within North Korea, warning that the challenge “to our dignity and social system … will be ruthlessly punished.”
A statement by the North Korean Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea is demanding that the United Nations do away with a plan to further investigate human rights abuses by the Pyongyang government, asserting that North Korea has a right to punish those who offend the nation’s dignity. “The establishment of the ‘office’ in South Korea is a hideous politically-motivated provocation insulting and mocking at the dignity of the DPRK and its people, a serious hostile act of denying and challenging the social system in it and a declaration of the confrontation of the social systems,” reads the full statement posted by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.
The statement accuses the United Nations and South Korea of establishing the office as a “farce” partly created to distract from the sinking of the Sewol Ferry in April. It also accused the global human rights movement of entering a “reckless phase,” and the UN office itself of being a front for “an anti-DPRK plot-breeding organization aimed at launching aggression and bringing down the social system in the DPRK.”
North Korea’s reaction to the office echoes its original sentiments on the human rights report that stemmed plans to build an office to combat human rights abuses in the nation. According to Reuters, North Korea said in a statement that Michael Kirby, the judge who led the investigation, was a “disgusting old lecher with a 40-odd-year-long career of homosexuality.”
The North Korean government, through state-run media, has not previously shied away from ad hominem attacks against those who question its human rights record. In an extensive series against South Korean President Park Geun-Hye in April, titled “We Accuse Park the Bitch Parts I-III,” state newspaper Rodong Sinmun called the head of state a “cold-blooded animal,” an “ugly old maid,” and an “old cat groaning in her sickbed.” North Korean media has also published comments calling President Obama a “clown,” a “wicked black monkey,” and a person who “does not even have the basic appearance of a human being.”
The UN report led by Judge Kirby found human rights abuses in North Korea akin to activities seen in Nazi Germany, including torture, widespread murder, and the establishment of prison camps throughout the country.