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N Korea hits out at UN abuses report

State responds to report accusing it torture, rape and murder of political prisoners held inside labour camps.

Last updated: 17 Feb 2014 12:52
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North Korea has hit out at the United Nations which is due to publish a report on the country's human rights abuses including evidence gathered by Amnesty International, the UK-based rights organisation.

In a statement sent to Reuters, the government called the UN report "fabricated and invented" and an "instrument of political plot".

North Korea "categorically and totally rejects" the report due to be published later on Monday.

"However, we will continue to strongly respond to the end to any attempt of regime-change and pressure under the pretext of 'human rights protection'," it said.

"The DPRK [North Korea] once again makes it clear that the human rights violations mentioned in the so-called 'report' do not exist in our country."

Disturbing accounts

The evidence includes powerful and disturbing accounts that tell of torture, rape and murder inside the country's labour camps where political prisoners are held.

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea was set up last March to begin building a case for possible criminal prosecution.

"This may actually be the best chance we've had in a long time to raise the profile, to get more attention to the grave situation inside North Korea and to actually put pressure on the government at the UN and by other governments to make change on the ground," Roseann Rife, East Asia research director at Amnesty International, told Al Jazeera on Sunday.

However, defectors from the country and experts are deeply sceptical the exercise will have any effect on the North Korean regime as any attempt to follow up after the final report is issued on Monday is likely to be blocked by China.

North Korea denies crimes against humanity are taking place in the country and labels any criticism of its rights record as a US-led conspiracy.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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