Human lives Human Rights: The UN envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield raised alarm Friday over what it said is a dire human rights situation in North Korea as the UN Security Council took up the matter in a rare non-broadcasted session.
“For every horrifying story we hear, there are countless stories that we will never hear – that will never see the light of day. This, of course, is by design,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council, according to a transcript of her remarks provided by the US mission.
“The regime in Pyongyang does everything in its power to hide its atrocities from the outside world. But, time and time again, they have failed. We have all seen the evidence – including the UN Commission of Inquiry report and many since – of the DPRK’s systemic, widespread, and gross human rights abuses,” she added.
Roughly 80,000 people remain in prison camps in North Korea where they are subjected to torture, starvation and forced labor, according to the Biden administration.
Thomas-Greenfield further said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has further prioritized his procurement of weapons systems, including some which Pyongyang is barred from development under successive Security Resolutions, over ensuring his citizens have a stable source of food.
“Kim Jong Un has chosen ammunition instead of nutrition, missiles over humankind. And in so doing, he has threatened the global proliferation regime,” she said.
The US envoy further pointed to “some council members,” a likely reference to fellow veto-wielding members Russia and China, of being “all too willing to shield the regime from accountability.”
Friday’s session was prevented from being broadcasted on the UN’s website, and Thomas-Greenfield pointed to “a Permanent Member” for preventing the informal Arria Formula Meeting from being made available online.
“It was yet another attempt to hide the DPRK’s atrocities from the world. But let me say, it was in vain. Because as you can see, we were not deterred – and we never will be. This meeting will be public, and available for the world to see,” she said.