Campaigning group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has supported calls from Fiona Bruce MP for action on human rights abuses in North Korea.
The Conservative Member of Parliament for Congleton called a parliamentary debate after hearing for herself of the thousands who are locked up in prison camps in the communist state.
She highlighted the story of Shin Dong-huk, who was born in a North Korean prison camp and managed to escape when he was 23.
She told MPs that his story was “the reason why I was particularly stirred to call this debate”.
Mrs Bruce met Shin in October 2011 during his visit to the United Kingdom, which had been organised by CSW.
She said: “On hearing Shin’s story I was moved with compassion for the North Korean people to highlight their dignified suffering in order to encourage support for the North Korean people in their plight.
“May I therefore record that in calling this debate I hold no hatred for the people of North Korea but rather am motivated out of a deep love and concern for North Korean people, for their needs and for their deep suffering over decades.
“North Korea has become the world’s most closed nation, with little press freedom, little religious freedom, little political freedom, little economic freedom and little freedom of movement or communication with the outside world for its people.”
Throughout the debate MPs highlighted the plight of an estimated 200,000 people in North Korea’s prison camps, documented evidence of the use of torture, forced labour and executions, religious persecution, trafficking of women, and the serious humanitarian crisis in the country due to food shortages.
China’s policy of forcibly repatriating North Korean refugees, and the plight of foreign abductees kidnapped by North Korea over recent decades, were also raised.
The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Jeremy Browne MP said: “There are many serious human rights causes around the world that certainly deserve our attention but receive far more attention in this House and among campaigning organisations in Britain than North Korea.
“In my view North Korea receives insufficient attention considering the gravity of the situation in that country and in a small way we have started I hope to address that deficit this morning.”
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “I would like to thank Fiona Bruce MP for tabling this debate and speaking with such compassion and conviction.
“This debate was a rare and very important way of putting the spotlight on the human rights and humanitarian crisis in North Korea, the world’s most closed nation ruled by one of the most oppressive regimes today.
“We hope, in particular, that the UK Government will have noted calls for the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity in North Korea, and that Britain will take a lead in pursuing this idea internationally. We welcome the Minister’s recognition of the gravity of the situation in North Korea, and hope that this debate will have contributed to raising the dire human rights situation further up the agenda of policy-makers, Parliamentarians, the media and the public.”
January 12th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross