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ICC Note: As the news release indicates, perhaps the only reason to remember the 70th anniversary of the Korean Workers’ Party in North Korea is to mourn the human rights abuses that have occurred during those seven decades, including a total lack of religious freedom for the North Korean people.

By CSW staff, UK

10/09/2015 North Korea (Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

ICNK Statement at the 70th Anniversary of the Korean Worker’s Party

The international community should demand that the North Korean government immediately end its pervasive abuses of human rights instead of lauding its ruling Korean Workers’ Party on the 70th anniversary of its founding, said the International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK), which comprises 40 human rights groups worldwide.

“Given the decades of horrific rights abuses committed in the name of Korean Workers’ Party, this 70th anniversary should be mourned, not celebrated,” said Eunkyoung Kwon, Secretary General at the ICNK’s secretariat.  “Pyongyang is not fooling anyone with its staged parades and its appeals to its people to work harder.”

North Korea continues to systematically and pervasively violate human rights through public executions, torture, forced labor, sexual violence, food deprivation, incarceration in political prisoner camps (kwan-li-so), and the denial the freedom of expression, thought and religious belief.

A UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in North Korea issued a report in February 2014, that “found a disturbing array of crimes against humanity,” that “arise from policies established at the highest level of the State,” and the “gravity, scale, duration and nature of the unspeakable atrocities committed in the country…does not have any parallel in the contemporary world”.

North Korea should end its use of violent and abusive political prison camp systems and other forced labor camps. Based upon first hand testimonies collected by ICNK member organizations, hundreds of thousands of prisoners have died over the past decades because of inhuman conditions or summary executions. These compelling testimonies demonstrate the need for the North Korean government to end acts of torture in the country, and commit to a just arrest, judicial and detention process that is free from coercion, violence and torture. The North Korean government and its party members should recognize the rights of every North Korean individual to life, liberty, freedom of thought and expression, equality and fair trial.

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