North Korea has "categorically rejected" the findings of a United Nations report that likened the country's human rights violations to the very worst aspects of Germany's wartime Nazi regime – dismissing it as a "smear campaign" to turn Western opinion against the country.
This week, a UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights published a 400-page report on the country's human rights breaches, saying: "The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world."
The report included many first-hand testimonies of "unspeakable atrocities" at the hands of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, his father Kim Jong-il and his grandfather Kim Il-Sung, who have led the country's Communist regime since 1948.
"These crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation." The UN report said the practice of forced abortion on female forced labourers was a Nazi-style crime against humanity.
North Korea Hits Back
On Friday, the North Korean state news agency KCNA ran a news story containing a strong rebuttal of the comparison and condemning the report as part of a politically motivated campaign to tarnish the country's image and undermine its Communist regime.
"The Commission was set up highhandedly at the meeting of the Council last year by the US and its satellite forces out of inveterate repugnance towards the DPRK. The DPRK, therefore, has never recognised its existence as it is no more than a marionette under their clutches.
"The DPRK categorically rejects this 'report' as it does not deserve even a passing note. The 'report' misrepresents the true picture of the Korean people enjoying genuine rights and is peppered with sheer lies and fabrications deliberately cooked up by hostile forces and riff-raffs such as some elements with ambiguous identities who defected from the north, criminals escaped from it after committing crimes against the country to earn money."
In an unprecedented step, the head of the UN's investigating panel, retired Australian judge Michael Kirby, wrote to the North Korean dictator, warning him that he and his senior officials in his regime could face prosecution by the International Criminal Court.
But the statement hit back at the US, branding America "the worst human rights abuser", and called for an international tribunal for the National Security Agency's spying programme.
"They are becoming frantic with their smear campaign against the DPRK while making far-fetched assertions that the 'human rights situation' in the DPRK should be referred to the International Criminal Court or to the UN Security Council. This is an extremely dangerous politically motivated provocation aimed to tarnish the image of the dignified DPRK and ramp up pressure on it in a bid to bring down its social system."
The statement ended with an ominous warning: "The US had better stop its futile anti-DPRK 'human rights' racket and mind its own business."