October 22, 2003

Report on N. Korea Prison Camps

A new report has been released by the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea that documents and examines the massive system of forced labor prison camps in North Korea. Read Claudia Rosett's WSJ article on the topic here, and a summary of the report here. The full 120 page report is available in .pdf format from that summary page.

Before we kid ourselves by signing non-agression pacts with the lunatic dictator Kim Jong Il, (his latest demand) or otherwise make him feel secure, as a way of maintaining "stability", Rosett argues that we need to become more aware of the nature of his regime, including this prison camp "hell on earth", and then ask ourselves if this is really a reality that deserves to be "stabilized". An excerpt from Rosett:

we need to understand just how systematic, deliberate and cruel an institution it is--no accident of Kim's misrule, but a pillar of his totalitarian state, and of the much-discussed security of his regime. The structure has been faithfully inherited from Kim Jong Il's totalitarian father, Kim Il Sung, designed to routinely and utterly dehumanize, torment and destroy the inmates, while squeezing from them the kind of labor once favored in the Nazi or Soviet death camps. And the policy of starving prisoners, notes this report, "preceded, by decades, the severe nationwide food shortages experienced by North Korea in the 1990s."

I realize that there are no easy answers in dealing with the threat that North Korea poses to the U.S., with our tens of thousands of soldiers within easy range of Kim's missiles, to its neighbors and to its own people, but a policy that even begins to grant Kim a sense of legitimacy or a feeling of "security" for his murderous regime seems to me flatly immoral.

UPDATE 10/22: Anne Applebaum in the WaPo on the same topic. (via Instapundit)

Posted by dan at October 22, 2003 11:08 AM