HRW report on sexual violence ‘totally preposterous’, North Korea says
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HRW report on sexual violence ‘totally preposterous’, North Korea says

NORTH KOREA has accused Human Rights Watch of fabricating a “totally preposterous” report on sexual violence in the country, saying the organisation had insulted its female citizens and committed a grave violation of its sovereignty.

On Sunday, a spokesperson of the Korean Association for Human Rights Studies said the report was issued by a “hypocritical” human rights institution which is “accustomed to getting hostile” towards North Korea.

Calling it nothing but a “despicable false document on earth,” the spokesperson said the report is “a patchwork of pointless words made by a handful of human scums, to sustain their dirty lives, who did not hesitate to abandon even their parents and children after having committed crimes against their motherland and people.”

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“In our country, the women are exercising the equal rights with men, and a number of legal and administrative measures are being taken to ensure women’s development and protect and promote their rights in all sectors of the state activities and the social life,” the spokesperson said in the strongly-worded statement.

Released on Nov 1, the HRW report, entitled “You Cry at Night but Don’t Know Why: Sexual Violence against Women in North Korea” mentions high-ranking party officials, prison and detention facility guards and interrogators, police and secret police officials, prosecutors, and soldiers as among the perpetrators of widespread sexual abuse.

According to most of the abuse victims, the cases occurred while they in the custody of authorities or during times market traders came across guards and other officials while travelling to open their businesses.

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North Korean cheerleaders attend the women’s preliminary round ice hockey match between Sweden and Unified Korea during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on Feb 12, 2018. Source: AFP

Interviewees told Human Rights Watch 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 favours.”

However, the exact number of women and girls who experience sexual violence in North Korea is unknown as many cases go unreported, while the government does not release any statistics on the abuses.

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Only nine people in all of North Korea were convicted of rape in 2008, seven in 2011, and five in 2015 the North Korean government told the UN committee that monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in July 2017.

In response, the North Korean association said the report was part of a political scheme fabricated by “hostile forces” who opposed peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

“It is also an extremely dangerous provocation aimed at reversing the tide of peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula.”

The association also called on the relevant authorities to find those responsible and their followers involved in the report to take legal action against them in accordance with North Korean law.