North Korea: Sexual violence against women 'common', report finds

South Korean President Moon Jae-in left and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hold their hands after watching the mass games performance of The Glorious Country at May Day Stadium in Pyongyang North Korea Wednesday Sept. 19 2018. Unification flag symb

North Korea: Sexual violence against women 'common', report finds

Meanwhile, a new resolution led by the European Union and Japan condemning North Korea's human rights abuses was submitted to the United Nations' Third Committee on Wednesday. But a new report suggests there's little chance that abused women in the North will get to say "MeToo" anytime soon.

"The North Koreans we spoke with told us that unwanted sexual contact and violence is so common that it has come to be accepted as part of ordinary life: sexual abuse by officials, and the impunity they enjoy, is linked to larger patterns of sexual abuse and impunity in the country", the report stated.

One woman who was caught attempting to flee North Korea suffered abuse at the hands of a police official who was questioning her at a pre-trial detention facility, says the BBC. "It was the sound of the key of the cell of our prison room opening".

"I stood still quietly, acting like I didn't notice, hoping it wouldn't be me the one to have to follow the guard".

"How could I do anything else?" said the woman, identified in the report as Park Young-hee.

"Pervasive" social stigma meant many victims never discuss abuse, the group said. "We are at the mercy of men".

North Korean police and other officials routinely rape and sexually assault women over whom they hold power, according to the accounts of defectors from the isolated dictatorship.

"It happens so often nobody thinks it is a big deal". "We don't even realize when we are upset".

"But we are human, and we feel it".

"When we think about the North's frightful 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.

Since Kim Jong-un took power in 2011, North Korea has eased restrictions on markets, allowing many families to make the bulk of their earnings from such economic activity. But the Human Right Watch report paints a different picture.

The country also promised further steps, including the closure of its main Yongbyon nuclear complex, Moon said following his summit with the North's Kim Jong Un.

Another problem facing women in North Korea is that they have nothing remotely comparable to the resources available to victims of sexual assault in other countries.

A depiction of the treatment of a woman in North Korea included in the HRW report.

In engaging North Korea in denuclearization talks, Seoul and Washington should bring up the issue of North Korea's human rights, said Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch's executive director.

Pompeo said in a radio interview that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had committed to allowing USA inspectors at two "significant" sites when he met him in Pyongyang this month.

North Korea typically reacts angrily when countries or human rights organizations raise concerns about its human rights abuses, viewing it as a challenge to the regime's authority.

Hong, who is also an associate professor at University of California Santa Cruz, told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Thursday that the work published by Human Rights Watch is "extraordinarily condescending". It condemns global criticism on the issue as a smear campaign to undermine its "sacred socialist system".

Fewer than 10 perpetrators have been convicted of rape in North Korea in recent years, according to data submitted to a United Nations committee by the Pyongyang government in July 2017. "Things like this happen in broad daylight", adds a former police officer and victim, per CNN.

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