“The food was nowhere near sufficient so we would catch frogs, rats, snakes and worms to eat, and to get new clothes we would take the clothes off the dead. Forced labor like logging, mining and farming were ordinary, and if we didn’t reach certain targets in winter then we were put outside on our knees or tied to stakes for the whole day.”
North Korean defectors imprisoned in Jeongeo-ri reeducation camp from 1995 to 2009 have testified to the human rights violations common in the camp for a new human rights report ‘Please Save Us- The Inhumane Crimes of North Korea’s Reeducation Camps- Jeonguri Reeducation Camp’.
Database Center for North Korean Human Rights has released the report to highlight once again the human rights situation in North Korea. It was written based on the testimonies of 11 North Korean defectors among a total of 81 who were once imprisoned in Jeonguri.
Generally, North Korea’s reeducation camps are seen as places where human rights abuses are more limited than in political prison camps, since they are run by the People’s Safety Ministry and are used to intern common criminals who will one day be released. However, the truth is that the abuses perpetrated therein are of a very similar hue to those common in the more famous facilities.
The defectors in the report state this clearly, saying things like, “Whether it’s a political prison camp or a reeducation camp, people are still treated like animals” and “Countless people die”. Not only that; they assert that “80% of the prisoners in Jeonguri reeducation camp are defectors who have been forcibly repatriated.”
“It no more than a ‘murder facility’ that imprisons and abuses people to death after a crappy ten-minute trial,” one adds.
Another former inmate reveals, “At one point, prisoners were released on sick bail just before death to reduce the number of the dead. However, many died soon after they went home, so I hear that again they are limiting the number being released.”
Speaking about the report which he helped to write, Kim Sang Hun of Database Center told Daily NK, “This data that has been prepared over three to four years will be a document used to accuse Kim Jong Eun and the rest of the North Korea authorities of human rights abuses.”
“North Korea human rights data produced by the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights is being sent to North Korea via multiple pathways such as the North Korean mission to the UN and Chongryon,” he added.