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North Korea: ‘Imperialists’ Bringing Up Human Rights as World Cozies Up to the Kims

Protesters in Seoul burn a North Korean flag during a rally against the visit by Kim Yong Chol with an eight-member delegation for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games' closing ceremony
AFP Joseph CHUNG

North Korea’s state media, which has softened its tone towards the United States since President Donald Trump agreed to meet dictator Kim Jong-un, published an aggressive piece Wednesday condemning human rights “imperialists” for exposing the widespread violations in the communist country.

The piece does not specify who its villains are further than the “imperialists,” though the article appears to be a response to recent remarks at the United Nations Human Rights Council urging that any talks with Kim address the murders, rapes, forced abortions, starvations, and arbitrary detentions that define the Kim regime.

“The imperialists’ ‘human rights’ racket should no longer be overlooked in order to build an independent new world in which the sovereignty and equality are ensured for all the countries and nations free from domination, subjugation, aggression and interference,” the state newspaper Rodong Sinmun argued.

“Human rights can never come true as long as the imperialists remain on the earth. In order to ensure genuine human rights, one has to build one’s own strength,” it continued. “Without strength one cannot fight against those standing against human rights and safeguard genuine human rights, falling victim to the strong.”

The piece did not mention any particular “imperialists,” only the U.N. Human Rights Council. “The politicization of human rights and application of double standards have to be rejected at international organizations including the U.N. Human Rights Council,” it claimed. “No specified nation can be a judge. But the imperialists, claiming as if they are ‘human rights judges,’ are politicizing human rights and attacking and pressurizing progressive countries.”

“The imperialists are the kingpin of human rights abuses and human rights criminals who have to face stern punishment by the international community,” the piece concludes.

CNN notes that U.N. special rapporteur to the Human Rights Council Tomás Ojea Quintana objected to not being allowed to enter North Korea this week, accusing the communist regime of a variety of crimes including starving its own people and detaining foreigners in torture centers.

“The (North Korean) State’s extensive penitentiary system and severe restrictions on all forms of free expression, movement and access to information, added to the poor access to basic needs, especially food, continue to nurture fear of the State and leave people at the mercy of unaccountable public officials,” Ojea Quintana said in a report.

The rapporteur urged anyone engaging in talks with Kim—most prominently, President Trump—to not ignore the rampant abuses of the regime in any discussion.

“My main message today is that any advancement on the security dialogue should be accompanied by a parallel expansion on the human rights dialogue,” he said. “The momentum is there for the negotiations to use and to bring the human rights issue into the discussion.”

The Kim regime has long engaged in significant abuses against its people, including forced abortions if women are suspected to have conceived a child with a foreigner; public executions of individuals caught with “illegal” Western media, such as Hollywood movies; the forced eating of rats in political prisons; feeding dead prisoners to guard dogs; bulldozing Christians to death if caught with a Bible; and total state control over the lives of every individual.

North Korea has nonetheless condemned the United States as a “human rights desert where even elementary human rights are not provided” in state-sponsored “reports” on the situation there, claiming widespread racial discrimination using statistics of an unknown origin.

The White House stunned the world last week with the announcement that President Trump had accepted to meet Kim Jong-un in person to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula “by May.” The meeting, brokered in part by South Korean officials, would discuss North Korea’s illegal nuclear program and its repeated threats to destroy major American cities. Officials have not mentioned human rights at all in relation to the meeting, suggesting the issue may not be raised.

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