by Rachael Denhollander | Pyongyang, North Korea
Pyongyang, North Korea (LiveActionNews) — Yesterday’s United Nations Report on the human rights abuses in North Korea unveiled a level of depravity and cruelty unparalleled in modern society. The 36 page initial report and 372 page report of detailed findings also revealed the systematic murder and persecution of society’s most vulnerable – the unborn and the handicapped.
It is no secret that eugenics has been a core goal for many history’s most brutal dictatorships, and North Korea is no exception. So deep is the desire to eradicate any impurity from the population that no one with a handicap or disability is even permitted to live in the capital city of Pyongyang, even if that disability was acquired through injury or illness.
northkoreaFamilies with infants born handicapped or disabled are physically removed from the city and relocated to rural areas where they are far less likely to come into contact with others or to be seen by visitors. Unfortunately, such removal also sentences families to a life of abject poverty with limited to no resources, simply for having an “impure” child.
One alternative sometimes offered to the family is to allow the government to take the child and to deposit him or her into a government-run institution for the disabled. One former high-level official interviewed by the UN Commission testified that government officials would routinely visit families who had a disabled child and urge them to turn the child over to the state. This meant agreeing to never see, or to seek out, the child again, and allowing him or her to be deposited into an unnamed government facility at a remote location. The state would then delete the child’s birth records and name from all family files, as if the child had never existed. So much secrecy surrounds the fate of these children that not even the UN Commission could discover how many of these facilities truly exist, though they estimate at least eleven. Essentially nothing more is known about what happens to these children after removal, though it offers a chilling explanation as to why North Korea’s last census report stated that only 3.4% of the population had a disability, despite the World Health Organization’s estimate that approximately 10% of the world population lives with one.
Other reports examined by the committee and additional testimonies revealed that infants with disabilities are routinely abandoned or killed on account of their handicap, while those who survive are often subjected to forced sterilization. And in a move reminiscent of Nazi Germany, the counsel notes “disturbing allegations of an island in South Hamgyong Province where gruesome medical testing of biological and chemical weapons has been conducted on persons with disabilities.” The counsel was unable to procure any first-hand accounts of this facility, but a former high-ranking Ministry of Public Security official reported being told, on two separate occasions, that certain arrested individuals were being transferred for use as medical experiments. As the report notes, further inquiry is of absolute necessity yet, due to the North Korean structure of government and complete control, it is possible that the depth of this horror will never be known.
In what should come as little surprise, the counsel also found “a widespread prevalence of forced abortion and infanticide,” mostly against women suspected of carrying a child fathered by someone of a different nationality. While the UN report noted that – on the whole – North Korea’s systemic abuse is founded more on ideological and religious grounds than those of race and nationality, they also found that a strong desire to maintain the purity of the North Korean race is a secondary motive for many human rights abuses.
The vast majority of forced abortions and infanticide occurs against women who were repatriated from China on the assumption that the woman is, or could be, carrying a child partly of Chinese descent. No inquiry is made as to the identity of the father, nor is any opportunity given to prove otherwise; pregnant women who may have conceived by a Chinese man are subjected to forced abortion as a matter of course, without exception. Where the pregnancy has progressed too far to allow for an abortion, or where the abortion attempt fails, the newborn infants are systematically murdered while the mothers are forced to watch or, in many cases, kill their own child.
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