This appeared in Monday’s Washington Post:
Satellite photography has become an invaluable tool in the cause of human rights. David Hawk and Amanda Mortwedt Oh of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea used it to prepare a report providing unsettling details about a parallel set of prison camps in North Korea that exist along with the political camps exposed earlier. These are places with “gated high walls and barbed wire fences, guard towers, dormitories, and workshops or mines,” further evidence that North Korea’s leaders have carried out crimes against humanity.
Previously, a United Nations Commission of Inquiry reported in 2014 on a chain of penal camps in North Korea operated by the Ministry of State Security, or secret police. These political or concentration camps are hidden and extrajudicial, and people can be held incommunicado for life. Family members are held there also. The camps are used to “preemptively purge, punish, and remove from North Korean society” those whom the regime fears might challenge their rule or their ideology, Hawk says.
The Nazi concentration camps shocked the world. If such a horror is discovered today, shouldn’t it prompt a response? Hawk has laid out the evidence of atrocity. So did the U.N. commission three years ago. North Korea is not only a testbed of nuclear weapons and missiles. It is also a black hole of human souls. That is another reason not to turn a blind eye to Kim Jong Un and his barbarous rule.