The top UN human rights official has asked global leaders to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court following a report documenting crimes against humanity in the country. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the international community has paid “insufficient attention” to human rights violations of an “unimaginable scale” which have been ongoing in North Korea.
“Insufficient attention was being paid to the kind of horrific and sustained human rights violations that are reported to be taking place on an ongoing basis” in North Korea, Pillay said. “…call on the international community, in line with the report’s recommendations, to use all the mechanisms at its disposal to ensure accountability, including referral to the International Criminal Court,” she said.
The report released on Tuesday will be formally presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 17. It documents crimes such as “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, forcible transfer of populations, enforced disappearance and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”
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Pillay said there is a need for strong international leadership to follow up on the grave findings of the report. The Indian-origin UN official said there can no longer be any excuses for inaction regarding rights abuses in North Korea. She said the commission has published a “historic report”, which sheds light on violations of a “terrifying scale”, the gravity and nature of which do not have any “parallel in the contemporary world.”
In 400-pages, the Commission found that North Korea “displays many attributes of a totalitarian State” and reports that the cited crimes against humanity are ongoing due to the “policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their heart remain in place.”
Pillay said it is vitally important to maintain the momentum on addressing the serious violations that the report documents in a comprehensive manner.