UN calls for probe into ‘alarming’ N. Korea situation

Updated 14 January 2013
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UN calls for probe into ‘alarming’ N. Korea situation

GENEVA: UN human rights chief Navi Pillay yesterday demanded an international probe into the alarming human rights situation in ultra-authoritarian North Korea, decrying more than a half-century of devastating abuses.
“It is time the international community took a much firmer step towards finding the truth and applying serious pressure to bring about change for this beleaguered, subjugated population of 20 million people,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a rare and strongly worded statement on North Korea.
Pillay lamented the “deplorable human rights situation” in North Korea, “which in one way or another affects almost the entire population and has no parallel anywhere in the world.”
She acknowledged that there had been some hope that the change of leadership in the single-party state after the death of Kim Jong-Il in December 2011 could bring change.
“But a year after Kim Jong-Un (Kim Jong-Il’s youngest son) became the country’s new supreme leader, we see almost no sign of improvement,” she lamented.
Pillay also cautioned that the international community had been so concerned about North Korea’s nuclear program and rocket launches that it had largely overlooked the situation of the population in the country.
Despite the country’s almost total isolation, the UN human rights chief said the little information that has filtered out bore testimony to “a system that represents the very antithesis of international human rights norms.”
She described meetings with two survivors of North Korea’s network of political prison camps, which are believed to hold at least 200,000 people.
“Their personal stories were extremely harrowing,” she said, listing rampant violations inside the camps, “including torture, ... summary executions, rape, slave labor and forms of collective punishment that may amount to crimes against humanity.”
The living conditions in the camps were “atrocious,” she said, describing an acute lack of food, medical care and clothing.
One mother told her how she had been forced to wrap her new-born baby in leaves to keep her warm.
The other person she met had been born into a camp, where he had spent the first 23 years of his life.
“He was not only tortured and subjected to forced labour, but, at the age of 14, was also made to watch the execution of his mother and his brother,” she said.
The widespread use of the death penalty is also cause for deep concern, Pillay said, noting that people in North Korea could be executed for “minor offences after wholly inadequate judicial processes.”
She also highlighted the still unresolved cases of Japanese and South Korean nationals abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and ‘80s.
“I believe an in-depth inquiry into one of the worst, but least understood and reported, human rights situations in the world is not only fully justified, but long overdue,” Pillay said.
FROM: AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE


India seeks death penalty for rape of girls under 12

Updated 21 April 2018
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India seeks death penalty for rape of girls under 12

  • The decision to prescribe the death penalty for people convicted of raping girls under 12 follows an outrage over the rape and killing of an 8-year-old girl in Jammu-Kashmir.
  • The Press Trust of India news agency reported that the ordinance is being sent to the president for approval.

New Delhi: India’s government has decided to prescribe the death penalty for people convicted of raping girls under the age of 12 to combat an increase in crimes against women.
The Press Trust of India news agency reported Saturday that the ordinance is being sent to the president for approval. It will require the approval of Parliament within six months in order the become law.
The decision follows an outrage over the recent brutal rape and killing of an 8-year-old girl in Jammu-Kashmir state and the alleged rape of a girl by a ruling party lawmaker in Uttar Pradesh state.
Countrywide protests following a 2012 New Delhi gang rape and murder case prompted the government to double prison terms for rapists to 20 years.