Reading One Free Korea I am informed that Vaclav Havel, Magne Bondevik and Elie Wiesel, have made a report on Human Rights in NKorea. The report is shocking (and large). I wonder why this is not on the front page and main titles of all MSM.
The report is titled “Failure to Protect: A Call for the UN Security Council to Act in NKorea”. I am copying the basic facts because the report is so important, you shpuld read it in its entire extension.
Failure of the Responsibility to Protect
• The North Korean government is manifestly failing to protect its own citizens from crimes against humanity, with the government actively committing those crimes against its own people and others. Since prior UN actions have failed to motivate North Korea to address these serious concerns, it is time for the UN Security Council to take up the situation of North Korea.
• On September 20, 2005, during the World Summit, the assembled leaders in the UN General Assembly adopted a statement in which they said: “we are prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council . . . [if ] national authorities are manifestly failing to protect their populations from . . . crimes against humanity.”
• Subsequently, this statement was unanimously endorsed in Resolution 1674 by the Security Council on April 28, 2006.
• For acts that would ordinarily constitute domestic criminal offenses to be elevated to the level of international “crimes against humanity,” a state and the perpetrators acting on its behalf must be knowingly involved in a series of widespread and systematic attacks directed against a civilian population, such as murder, extermination, torture, imprisonment, or other acts intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental arm.
• The North Korean government is actively involved in committing crimes against humanity with respect to both: (1) its food policy leading to famine and (2) its treatment of political prisoners.
Food Policy and Famine: North Korea allowed as many as one million, and possibly many more, of its own people to die during its famine in the 1990s. Hunger and starvation remain a persistent problem in the country. Over 37 percent of children in North Korea are chronically malnourished. Even today, North Korea denies the World Food Programme access to 42 of 203 counties in the country.
Treatment of Political Prisoners: North Korea imprisons upwards of 200,000 people in its modern-day gulag without due process of law and in near-starvation conditions. More than 400,000 are estimated to have died in that system over 30 years.
Non-Traditional Threat to the Peace
• In addition to North Korea’s violation of the responsibility to protect its own citizens, North Korea is also a non-traditional threat to the peace. “Traditional” threats to the peace are typically caused by military action; so-called “non-traditional” threats to the peace occur when a country’s actions or failure to act result in serious cross-border impacts. Examples of non-traditional threats can include drug trafficking, failing to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, serious human rights abuses leading to mass refugee outflows, and environmental degradation.
• Although there is no precise definition of what represents a non-traditional “threat to the peace,” the Security Council – through its past actions in evaluating other cases – has elucidated a list of factors that collectively can constitute such a threat to the peace. Because the Security Council takes a case-by-case approach, no one factor or set of factors is dispositive. Each past case embodied a unique set of circumstances; in each case, the Security Council considered the totality of circumstances in determining that a threat to the peace was taking place.
• To guide our work, we first reviewed the initial Security Council resolutions adopted in response to internal country situations that the Security Council deemed a threat to the peace previously. This review enabled us to identify the criteria that helped the Council make its decisions. These criteria are used in this report as the determining factors relevant to North Korea.
These factors include: (1) widespread internal humanitarian/human rights violations; (2) the substantial outflow of refugees; (3) other cross-border problems (for instance, drug trafficking); (4) conflict among governmental bodies and insurgent armies or armed ethnic groups; and (5) the overthrow of a democratically elected government.
In the case of North Korea, three of these five determining factors have been met. Satisfying three of five factors was sufficient to justify Security Council involvement in five of the seven case studies we examined, including the situations in Haiti, Yemen, Rwanda, Liberia, and Cambodia.
The factors specifically present in North Korea are as follows:
Widespread Internal Humanitarian/Human Rights Violations: As
described above, there are two sets of activities in which the North Korean government is engaging that constitute crimes against humanity and meet this factor: its food policy leading to famine, and its treatment of political prisoners.
Outflow of Refugees: It is estimated that some 100,000 to 400,000
North Koreans have fled the country in recent years.
Other Cross-Border Problems:
– Drug Production and Trafficking: It is believed that the North Korean government earns $500 million to $1 billion per year from illicit drug production and trafficking. It is estimated that North Korea harvests 30 to 44 tons of opium and manufactures 10 to 15
tons of methamphetamines per year.
– Money Counterfeiting and Laundering: The North Korean government produces and launders high-quality counterfeit US
$100 bills or “supernotes.” It is estimated that North Korea produces between $3 million and $25 million in supernotes per year.
• As a result of the severity of the overall situation in North Korea and in consideration of all of the information analyzed in detail in this report, the Security Council has independent justification for intervening in North Korea either because of the government’s failure in its responsibility to protect or because North Korea is a non-traditional threat to the peace.
Security Council intervention is a necessary international and multilateral vehicle to alleviate the suffering of the North Korean people.
You can read more here (it’s a PDF document).
The report insists in the fact that NKorea has sufficient resources to be a functioning, growing economy. It is rich in mineral resources but the country has a very high unemployment (near 30%, estimated) outside the agricultural sector and it’s very dependent on foreign assistance. But more than 15% (some estimates raise it as high as 30%) of the country’s GDP is devoted to the military expenses, making it the country that expends most on that kind of expenses.It is estimated that the NKorean Army has 1 million employed. NKorean weapons’ exports are estimated at approximately $100 million to $600 million annually.
One Free Korea’s author says he is not very confident on the UN because of the new UNSG, the SKorean Ban Ki-Moon. I am not confident because the UN has been unable to stop other humanitarian crisis in the past. And I do not see it very changed from the past one.
Traducción: Vaclav Havel encabeza un nuevo informe sobre la situación de Corea del Norte muy interesante. Entre otras cosas, menciona la hambruna que sufrió el país en los 90 y la absoluta falta de responsabilidad de Kim Il Jong -el querido líder- en la misma. También el maltrato a los disidentes, confinados en gulags y la desproporción del gasto militar (las previsiones más optimistas lo sitúan en el 15%, pero hay informes que lo elevan hasta el 30%) son estudiados exhaustivamente en el informe.
En fin, que me gustaría que este informe estuviera en todos los medios de comunicación en primera plana, pero me da que es mejor -como siempre- atacar a USA y a Israel. Ejem…
El autor de One Free Korea dice que no tiene confianza en la ONU por el nuevo Secreario General. Yo no tengo confianza en la ONU porque se ha revelado en el pasado totalmente inútil de parar crisis humanitarias y nada hace pensar que haya cambiado.