SEOUL (dpa) – North Korea has hit back at a United Nations assessment of its poor human rights record by publishing its own report that says its policies “guarantee genuine rights of the people,” state media reported on Saturday.
The five-chapter report, which is aimed at “wiping out prejudice and misunderstanding” in the international community, says that Pyongyang allows citizens to freely practice religion, stand for office and exempts them from torture and slavery.
Compiled by non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and experts, the report places a focus on the ideological foundation of its rights framework, according to the North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The UN said in a report released in February that North Korea’s human rights abuses were “widespread and systematic.” The judge-led commission responsible for the assessment was not allowed into North Korea. Instead, it held hearings with defectors and former inmates of the country’s prison system, and collected expert reports.
Satellite images were used to confirm prison camps, the existence of which is denied by the Communist regime.
The commission said that the crimes against humanity that were committed include killings, torture, rape, forced abortion, political prosecution and starvation.