One of the world’s biggest kept secrets are North Korea’s ‘deathcamps’ and their whereabouts, but new images have come to light showing us more information than ever before.
Amnesty International, have now revealed new satellite images exposing some of the disturbing activity that has been going on over the last few years. Images of two of the prison camps, kwanliso 25 and kwanliso 15- also known as Yudok-clearly depict the growth and investment that have been put into these inhumane facilities.
Images analysed between May and August, show the latest additions to these harrowing places, including guard posts, a crematorium and farm-land used specifically for the prisons, as well as water treatment facilities.
The new images are found to be consistent with previous findings and suspicions about forced labour and detention in North Korea. The report also confirmed cases of rape, infanticide, torture, ‘deliberate’ starvation and forced labour.
Imagery analyst Micah Farfour said:
Taken together, the imagery we’ve analysed is consistent with our prior findings of forced labour and detention in North Korea’s kwanliso, and the physical infrastructure the government uses to commit atrocities are in working order.
It is estimated that 120,000 men, women and children have been executed during the time that these horrific camps have been operating.
Many people detained in the camps have not committed any sort of crime, but are brutally dealt with just by being associated or born into a family that has.
The horrendous idea between these dystopian camps is to punish those even thinking about going against the regime, before the idea may have entered their heads and to instil utter terror in its citizens.
A research fellow at the Sejong Institute said:
The National Security Agency conducts surveillance to generate fear during the process of uncovering, investigating, punishing and purging political prisoners. Prison camps create more fear by treating existing political prisoners inhumanly.
The North Korean system is structured around the fear spread by the existence of political prison camps, meaning that public political opposition from citizens is impossible. Every person and the people around them are harmed by the system of guilt by association; therefore they suppress their political opposition of their own accord.
The death camps are positioned in remote areas, surrounded by electric fences and guard posts, with the death-penalty for any attempts to escape.
A couple, Kim and Lee who were imprisoned in Yudok between 1999-2001, have spoken out about their dreadful experiences.
During the course of our three-year detention, often we did not meet our targets because we were always hungry and weak. We were punished with beatings and also reductions in our food quota.
The camps are split into different areas, supposedly for different purposes, such as political, re-education, detention and labour, although, ultimately, if you are incarcerated in any of them, it would most likely lead to an unjust and untimely death.
Developments to their purpose-built crematorium have been made to accommodate for this:
The conditions in any of these camps are so harsh, with very little food, that few people actually survive to be released. Not much is known about Camp 22, but reports suggest that there is evidence of a gas-chamber present and experimentation on humans.
They also suspect that the sites contribute to the the dictator’s nuclear weapons developments. The terrifying camps have been condemned by Amnesty, deeming them as ‘institutional human rights abuse,’ despite constant denial from North Korea.
UK campaign director,for Amnesty, Kerry Moscogiuri stated:
The North Korean government is still denying the existence of these hellish camps – but year after year we’ve documented and photographed a vast network so massive that it’s visible from space.
The tens of thousands of people held in the camps face unimaginable suffering – excruciating forced labour, rampant malnutrition, violent punishments, rape and even execution.
The country has denied access to researchers and investigator looking into claims of human rights abuse and wrong-doings, however these have become a part of the constitution of their country
Extreme political oppression and control, allows the regime to severely compromise human rights of their citizens and banning entry into the country and making it illegal to escape, makes it very difficult for anything to be done.