N. Koreans starved, forced to work under reign of fear, UN told
The Straits Times|August 19, 2023
Officials outline dire situation in country; Pyongyang, Moscow blast US-led meeting
N. Koreans starved, forced to work under reign of fear, UN told

UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations Security Council on Thursday took up North Korea's human rights record for the first time in six years, with officials painting a grim picture of extreme hunger, forced labour and medicine shortages in the country.

The United States, which holds the rotating monthly presidency of the council, had sought the meeting, along with Albania and Japan.

In addition to reports from UN officials, delegates at the meeting heard testimony from Mr Kim Ilhyeok, a North Korean who had fled with his family to South Korea. He described being forced to work as a child and growing up under a "reign of fear".

"The government turns our blood and sweat into a luxurious life for the leadership and missiles that blast our hard work into the sky," he said.

Predictably, news of the UN meeting did not go down well in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, where the government on Tuesday criticised the US-led discussion as "despicable", saying that the only purpose of the meeting was to help Washington achieve its geopolitical goals.

The discussion also emphasised the current divides among world powers. The Russian delegate denounced the meeting, calling it "propaganda", and China's representative accused the council of overstepping its purview.

This story is from the August 19, 2023 edition of The Straits Times.

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This story is from the August 19, 2023 edition of The Straits Times.

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