The repressive communist government of North Korea has released a 53,000-word report it claims definitively proves that the nation not only respects human rights, but has the world’s “most advantageous human rights system.”
The report, translated through several media outlets, serves as a counterpoint to a United Nations report released February, which exposed the outrageous torture techniques used in four massive political prisoner labor camps, the use of starvation to combat political opposition, and mass government spying on North Korean citizens.
In August, the government of North Korea announced that it would launch an “investigation” into itself to see whether the United Nations report holds up. The result is the report released this week, a laughably false document that distorts the definition of “human rights” into collectivist talking points that emphasize the need to keep Japan from invading, and make no positive mention of traditional notions of human rights at all.
As the Washington Post notes, human rights are described only in terms of “state sovereignty,”attacking the Japanese for giving Koreans a “miserable life worse than a dog of a family having a funeral” during their rule of the peninsula. It defines human rights as “internal affairs and it presupposes the ensurance [sic] of state sovereignty.” “The right of the individual apart from the social collective is unthinkable,” it concludes.
The Post notes that it also lists a series of what the state considers fundamental human rights, including rights that the United Nations has said explicitly do not exist in the nation: the right to a free and fair trial; freedom of expression; and the “right of freedom of resistance and travel.”
Vice highlights other notable parts of the report. For example, in discussing what is universally considered to be the set of rights that form the definition of individual human rights, the report dismisses them as tools of Western countries used in empire-building oppression. And the United Nations itself, so often a soapbox for the pettiest and cruelest of anti-American dictators, is “a marionette of the US and its satellite forces” that “fabricated and circulated its ‘report’ based on ‘testimonies’ of human scum who betrayed their homeland and people.”
The report declares itself to be “based on the objective truth,” though admits evidence is largely missing because of “limited space and lack of ability of the writers.” This shortcoming was not detailed in a similar report by the same government body on the human rights record of the United States, which, unsurprisingly, the communist nation deemed irredeemable. While North Korea is a bastion of human rights according to North Korea, the United States is a “living hell” and the “world’s worst human rights abuser” in what amounts to a diplomatic “I know you are, but what am I?” taunt.