thumbnail

Posted by On 9:13 PM

#MeToo Voices From North Korea: 'They Consider Us Toys'

  1. #MeToo Voices From North Korea: 'They Consider Us Toys' New York Times
  2. North Korean women face widespread sexual violence by 'government officials,' rights group says Washington Post
  3. Sex abuse by officials 'endemic' in North Korea: rights group Reuters
  4. North Korea women suffer serious sexual abuse but no 'MeToo' Seattle Times
  5. Full coverage
Source: Google News North Korea | Netizen 24 North Korea

thumbnail

Posted by On 8:10 PM

North Korea women suffer serious sexual abuse but no 'MeToo'

North Korea women suffer serious sexual abuse but no 'MeToo'

Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch's executive director, adjusts his glasses during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. North Korean refugees say sexual violence aga inst women in their former homeland is part of daily life. But a new report suggests there’s little chance that abused women in the North will get to say “MeToo” anytime soon. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

North Korea women suffer serious sexual abuse but no 'MeToo'

Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch's executive director, attends during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. “Sexual violence in North Korea is an open, unaddressed and widely tolerated secret,” Roth said in a statement. “North Korean woman would probably say ‘MeToo’ if they thought there was any way to obtain justice, but their voices are silenced in Kim Jong Un’s dictatorship.” (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) â€" North Korean refugees say sexual violence against women in their former homeland is part of daily life. But a new report suggests there's little chance that abused women in the North will get to say "MeToo" anytime soon.

North Korea's extremely patriarchal society means many women feel powerless to demand accountability over sexual violence, many are also ashamed of being abused, and some choose to keep silent because of flimsy law enforcement and support systems, according to a report published Thursday by New York-based Human Rights Watch based on interviews with 106 North Koreans who left the country, more than half of them after 2011.

Three women who left North Korea and three South Korean experts, separately interviewed by The Associated Press, agreed that sexual violence is a serious problem in the North, though the voices and economic power of women have gradually increased in recent years because of their role in burgeoning capitalist-style markets. Some said that North Korean women didn't even understand that widespread assaults and harassment were abuse.

"Sexual violence in North Korea is an open, unaddressed and widely tolerated secret," Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch's executive director, said in a statement. "North Korean woman would probably say 'MeToo' if they thought there was any way to obtain justice, but their voices are silenced in Kim Jong Un's dictatorship."

The report comes as U.S.-led global diplomacy fo cuses on North Korean nuclear disarmament. The country's abysmal human rights status, however, has been largely ignored. It's not the first outside documentation of sexual violence in North Korea, but the report will likely anger North Korea, which often complains about what it claims is persistent U.S. hostility.

Kim's propaganda service has called North Korea a "socialist paradise" and bristles at outside criticism of its rights conditions as a U.S.-led attempt to force regime change. A 2016 dispatch said every woman in the North is "highly valued and respected" and that they "all can lead a worthwhile life as a heroine of the times." But this is also the country that called former female South Korean President Park Geun-hye a "prostitute."

According to the report, titled "You Cry at Night but Don't Know Why," and the six people reached by the AP, sexual violence targeting women is rampant in North K orea. They say it happens in detention facilities, open markets, checkpoints, trains, streets and army bases.

The report details sexual abuse by men in official positions of power, such as prison guards, police officers, prosecutors, soldiers and market supervisors.

"Interviewees told us that when a guard or police officer 'picks' a woman, she has no choice but to comply with any demands he makes, whether for sex, money, or other favors," the report said. "Women in custody have little choice should they attempt to refuse or complain afterward, and risk sexual violence, longer periods in detention, beatings, forced labor, or increased scrutiny while conducting market activities."

One woman interviewed in the report said a police agent penetrated her several times with his fingers while questioning her illegal stay in China. Another talked about women in a detention center being forced to leave with a guard who raped them every night. They said that "click, click, click was the most horrible sound" because it meant the key was turning in the door of their prison cells. Several traders also described male officials at checkpoints conducting intrusive body searches of young women, spending more time checking around their breasts and hips and sometimes underneath their underwear.

Others in the report said police don't consider sexual violence a "serious crime" and that it's "almost inconceivable" to even consider going to the police to report their suffering because of possible repercussions. A pervasive social stigma keeps victims silent, the report said, adding that all of the interviewees described "widespread impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence and lack of justice for survivors." They also spoke of deeply embedded patterns of discrimination against women, corruption and a lack of support mechanisms.

Women who talked t o the AP said they didn't even know what exactly sexual abuse was when they were in North Korea.

"Higher-level male (army officers) often patted female soldiers on their hips and breasts or put their hands underneath their uniforms around their necks when they passed by them. We saw these things lots of times, but we just thought they were specially favored by our bosses," said Lee So Yeon, a woman who served in the North's army before her 2008 escape.

A second woman said a detention center guard tried to rape her but moved away after she said her body was crawling with lice. A third woman said sexual abuse was considered shameful for women because people thought they must have brought it on themselves.

The Human Rights Watch report comes as North Korea struggles to win political and economic concessions from the United States in nuclear negotiations. It's unlikely that the North will take any major steps toward improving its rights conditions because U.S. and South Korean officials don't plan to openly raise the issue during the nuclear talks anytime soon.

"When we think about the North's horrible rights conditions, I know we should tackle that issue right away but it's also something that we can't resolve overnight," said analyst Cho Han Bum at Seoul's Korea Institute for National Unification. If current diplomacy continues, "the North's rights status at least won't worsen as long as the country continues to open," Cho said.

Source: Google News North Korea | Netizen 24 North Korea

thumbnail

Posted by On 7:10 PM

North Korean women face widespread sexual violence by 'government officials,' rights group says


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits northern Samjiyon county in an image released Tuesday. (Korean Central News Agency/Reuters) October 31 at 10:01 PM

SEOUL â€" North Korean officials commit sexual violence against women with apparent impunity as part of systemic oppression and other abuses tolerated within Kim Jong Un’s regime, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Wednesday.

The 86-page report offers the latest glimpse into a range of suspected human rights violations carried out by authorities in the North Korean state, including public executions and arbitrary detentions of suspected activists and dissidents.

The findings come amid a flur ry of diplomacy on North Korea led by the United States and South Korea. Washington and Seoul have carefully avoided confronting Kim head-on over rights issues, opting instead for more-general talks in hopes of persuading Kim to dismantle the North’s nuclear program.

Tomas Ojea Quintana, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, said at a news conference last week that he was “very concerned” about the absence of a human rights agenda in key statements after Kim’s separate summit meetings with President Jae-in Moon of South Korea and President Trump.

Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch’s executive director, said that “North Korean women should not have to risk being raped by government officials or workers when they leave their homes to earn money to feed their families.”

[North Korean women have reason to say #MeToo but no hope of reckoning]

“Kim Jong Un and his government should acknowledge the problem and take urgent step s to protect women and ensure justice for survivors of sexual violence,” Roth added.

The regime in Pyongyang said that North Korea is a “heaven for women” in response to a call for action from the United Nations in 2014 on human rights abuses.

But testimonies by more than 50 female defectors from North Korea in the report describe a lack of judicial avenues to report sexual violence and a culture that places a social stigma on rape victims who come forward.

The report does not directly link the abuses to the highest ranks of Kim’s regime, but it suggests there are few controls on officials such as police officers and prison-camp guards to prevent assaults against women.

“When an official in a position of power ‘picks’ a woman she has no choice but to comply with any demands he makes, whether for sex, money, or other favors,” the report said.

A former market merchant who left North Korea in 2013 was quoted as saying that she could no t report being raped, because “it is like spitting in your own face,” given the victim-blaming culture and apparent impunity allowed to men in positions of power.

Fewer than 10 perpetrators have been convicted of rape in North Korea in recent years, according to data submitted to a U.N. committee by the Pyongyang government in July 2017.

Most of the women who testified to Human Rights Watch had been in the custody of authorities or were merchants subject to sexual abuse by officials as they traveled across the border or within the country.

[North Korea defector paid smugglers to get family out. China sent them back.]

Yoon Mi Hwa, a former trader from North Hamgyong province who escaped North Korea in 2014, described to Human Rights Watch how a guard at a holding center in 2009 would pick a woman to be raped each night. Like all the women cited in the report, Yoon is referred to by a pseudonym to protect her identity and any relatives in North Korea.

“Click, click, click was the most horrible sound I ever heard,” Yoon was quoted as saying in the report. “It was the sound of the key of the cell of our prison room opening. Every night a prison guard would open the cell. I stood still quietly, acting like I didn’t notice, hoping it wouldn’t be me the one to have to follow the guard.”

One defector not cited in the report, Seo Hyang-ran, said she was stripped and vaginally searched by secret-police officials after being returned from China in a failed attempt to seek haven in the region.

She told The Washington Post she was “picked” as a rape target by a guard at a detention facility in North Hamgyong.

“I couldn’t make sense of what happened to me, but it felt extremely humiliating,” said Seo, who now works as a counselor for North Korean defectors at Chungnam National University Hospital in South Korea. “Now I know that it wasn’t my fault and I was unfairly subjected to sexual vio lence.”

Read more:

Opinion: Trump era is full of cruelty without consequence

Satellite images show North Korea’s ‘reeducation’ camps

Korean defectors wonder: Could they really go home again?

Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world

Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news

Source: Google News North Korea | Netizen 24 North Korea

no image

Posted by On 5:04 PM

North Korea: Reports Indicate Preparations Underway for Test Site Inspections

What Happened: North Korea appears to be preparing its Punggye-ri nuclear test site and its Sohae Satellite Launching Station for inspection, Yonhap reported Oct. 31.

Why It Matters: If confirmed, this would be a sign that North Korea is taking tangible steps to fulfill its promise to allow inspectors to search the facilities. North Korea demolished the Punggye-ri test site on May 24 after identifying it and Sohae for dismantling.

Background: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will likely meet his North Korean counterpart in the coming week. During an Oct. 7 meeting with Pompeo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to allow inspectors to examine the Punggye-ri site and allow international monitors to inspect Sohae.

Read More:

  • North Korea: A Subdued Response Indicates Pyongyang 9;s Desire to Keep Talks Going (Aug. 27, 2018)
  • North Korea, U.S.: Pyongyang Stakes Out Its Position With Harsh Rhetoric (July 9, 2018)
  • Is North Korea Balking at Denuclearization? (July 2, 2018)
  • Trump and Kim Break With the Past (June 14, 2018)
Source: Google News North Korea | Netizen 24 North Korea

no image

Posted by On 5:04 PM

North Korea: Reports Indicate Preparations Underway for Test Site Inspections

What Happened: North Korea appears to be preparing its Punggye-ri nuclear test site and its Sohae Satellite Launching Station for inspection, Yonhap reported Oct. 31.

Why It Matters: If confirmed, this would be a sign that North Korea is taking tangible steps to fulfill its promise to allow inspectors to search the facilities. North Korea demolished the Punggye-ri test site on May 24 after identifying it and Sohae for dismantling.

Background: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will likely meet his North Korean counterpart in the coming week. During an Oct. 7 meeting with Pompeo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to allow inspectors to examine the Punggye-ri site and allow international monitors to inspect Sohae.

Read More:

  • North Korea: A Subdued Response Indicates Pyongyang 9;s Desire to Keep Talks Going (Aug. 27, 2018)
  • North Korea, U.S.: Pyongyang Stakes Out Its Position With Harsh Rhetoric (July 9, 2018)
  • Is North Korea Balking at Denuclearization? (July 2, 2018)
  • Trump and Kim Break With the Past (June 14, 2018)
Source: Google News North Korea | Netizen 24 North Korea