Just a few days ago, the North Korean regime denied accusations of human rights abuses by the United Nations. In fact, its spokesperson defended North Korea’s human rights record, stating “North Korea guarantees ‘true freedom and rights’ to its people.” Further, North Korea argued that the accusations lacked legitimacy and were a calculated part of a “political maneuver aimed at overthrowing the regime.” Unfortunately for the North Korean government, the irrefutable evidence of abuse by the Kim regime has been well documented. In particular, human rights investigator David Hawk has worked through HRNK for over a decade to shed light on North Korea’s prison camp system through former prisoner testimony and satellite imagery in the Hidden Gulag series.
"It is a well-established principle of contemporary international law that those who commit atrocities should be held accountable and should be asked to account for the violations of human rights that are so severe that they are considered to be atrocity crimes. That has to be done primarily through the efforts of other UN Member States. It’s at this point only other governments that can demand from North Korea that North Korea hold accountable those who are responsible. There are institutions and mechanisms for doing this that, as of December of last year, are employed. An overwhelming majority of Member States in the General Assembly passed a resolution requesting the UN Security Council to refer the North Korean human rights situation to the International Criminal Court for its investigation and its prosecution of those who are responsible. It’s the Member States of the UN that have to continue to pressure North Korea to improve its human rights situation and to cease these criminal violations and to bring those who are accountable to justice. We are a long way from that happening, but it’s only since the international community took these measures in 2014 to raise the issue of accountability and obtaining an account of these dreadful ongoing violations that the North Korean regime has responded at all to the concerns of the international community. Prior to this there had been a decade of resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council, there had been a decade of reports by the Special Rapporteur, there had been a decade of resolutions at the General Assembly, and North Korea ignored all of that, all of those resolutions, all of those reports. It’s only when the international community raised the issue of accountability that the North Koreans responded."
Even while the North Korean regime denies its wrongdoing, history has shown us that it is ultimately fighting a losing battle.