Horror in N. Korea detailed in report

Horror in N. Korea detailed in report

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Witnesses sketched drawings of torture and suffering inside North Korean prisons. (Source: CNN) Witnesses sketched drawings of torture and suffering inside North Korean prisons. (Source: CNN)
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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) - The United Nations conducted an investigation detailing horrific human rights abuses in North Korea.

Now, the challenge is finding a way to stop it.

Images of skeletal, starving people eating snakes and rats. Emaciated human remains, left for rats to eat.

Drawings of detainees being tortured, abused. The etchings are by a former prisoner in a North Korean gulag. And they're part of a disturbing, exhaustive new U.N. report on human rights abuses in North Korea.

The U.N. Commission of Inquiry interviewed hundreds of former prisoners and other witnesses. Survivor Jee Heon told of a starving woman who gave birth in a camp. A prison official heard the baby's cries and repeatedly beat the mother, Jee said, eventually forcing the mother to drown the child.

"The mother, with her shaking hands, she picked up the baby and she put the baby face down in the water," Jee said.

"There's no other place on Earth today that has the level of human rights abuse that North Korea has," said Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute.

In the four large North Korean prison camps housing more than 100,000 people, systematic starvation, torture, rape, and execution were commonplace, witnesses told the U.N.

Former detainees and prison officials described grotesque methods of killing inmates. Guards would force them to dig their own graves, they said, then hit them over the head with a hammer. Speaking to Amnesty International, an anonymous former prison official said another method was to have an inmate come to an office and sit down. Two people would be waiting with a rubber rope.

"If you strike someone with it, it will wrap around their neck. Then you kill them by pulling the rope," the former official said.

A defector testified for the U.N. and described how guards presumably killed her brother.

"They tied him to a truck,"  she says. "And dragged him for 45 kilometers. When he fell down, they kept on driving."

American Kenneth Bae is believed to be held in one of those camps. The U.N. official who released this horrific report is calling for action.

"Too many times in this building there are reports and no action. This is a time for action," said Judge Michael Kirby of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in N. Korea.

Time for action, but will anything change inside North Korea?

"The North Korean government wants to be recognized and to have international legitimacy. And in every venue where North Korean officials walk internationally, this is going to stalk them," said Eberstadt.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.

 

 

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