People being forced to stand for hours. Prisoners feeding off of rats and snakes. Forty people forced into the same cell and made to crawl on their hands and knees.
That’s the reality of life in a North Korea prison camp, as depicted by a series of haunting sketches included in a United Nations commission report this week.
“[C]rimes against humanity have been committed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea pursuant to policies established at the highest level of the state,” the U.N.’s high commissioner on human rights stated in the report. “These crimes against humanity are ongoing because the policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their root remain in place.”
The sketches included in the report, which come by way of Kim Kwang-il, a North Korean who claims he spent six years in a prison camp, are similar to drawings released a short while ago by another escapee.
U.N. investigators were so shocked by what they found while documenting North Korea’s treatment of its citizens that they actually compared it to the Nazis during World War II, according to Reuters.
Here are eight of Kwang-il’s sketches accompanied by descriptions from the U.N. report:
The “pigeon torture”: “[W]e are bound to stay in that position until the jailer feels that you have been tortured enough. So the torture goes on until the time has come to the satisfaction of the jailer. This is the pigeon torture. This is a very strange word in Korea and to you. Your hands are bound back and if they tie you like this, your chest comes out forward and in this position you are tortured.” (Image source: United Nations)
In Kim’s own word to the U.N. panel: “We are supposed to think there’s an imaginary motorcycle and we are supposed to be in this position as if we are riding the motorcycle. And for this, we pose as if we are airplanes ourselves. We are flying. And if we stand like this there’s no way that you can hold that position for a long time. You are bound to fall forward. Everybody in the detention centre goes through this kind of this torture.” (Image source: United Nations)
From the U.N. report: “[D]ecisions, actions and omissions by the State and its leadership caused the death of at least hundreds of thousands of people and inflicted permanent physical and psychological injuries on those who survived.” (Image source: United Nations)
Wagons originally meant for cattle and livestock are being used to transport human prisoners (Image source: United Nations)
“The State has used food as a means of control over the population . … The State has also used deliberate starvation as a means of control and punishment in detention facilities. This has resulted in the deaths of many political and ordinary prisoners.” (Image source: United Nations)
The sketches depict people eating snakes and rats. (Image source: United Nations)
Image source: United Nations
From the report: “Kim was forced to crawl on his hands and knees into a cell with 40 other prisoners. Guards said: ‘When you get to this prison you are not human, you are just like animals, and as soon as you get to this prison, you have to crawl just like animals.’” (Image source: United Nations)
Here’s a copy of the full report:
(H/T: Huffington Post)
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