North Korean gulags

 

nkimage_1
© Copyright GeoEye 2007. All rights reserved. Source: https://www.aaas.org/page/geospatial-technologies-and-human-rights-%E2%80%93-north-korea%E2%80%99s-prison-camps-case-study-summary

Political Prison Camp Official Name Location Size Prisoners Comments
Kaechon Political Prison Camp Kwan-li-so No. 14 Kaechon, South Pyongan 155 km² (60 mi²) 15,000 Shin Dong-hyuk testimony; mining area
Yodok Political Prison Camp Kwan-li-so No. 15 Yodok County, South Hamgyong 378 km² (146 mi²) 46,500 Best-known camp; total control zone and revolutionizing zone
Hwasong Political Prison Camp Kwan-li-so No. 16 Myonggan County, North Hamgyong 549 km² (212 mi²) 10,000 Near nuclear test site (Mantapsan)
Pukchang Political Prison Camp Kwan-li-so No. 18 Pukchang County, South Pyongan 73 km² (28 mi²) 50,000 Mining area; total control zone and revolutionizing zone
Hoeryong Political Prison Camp Kwan-li-so No. 22 Hoeryong, North Hamgyong 225 km² (87 mi²) 50,000 Near Chinese border; mining area; often called Camp 22
Chongjin Political Prison Camp Kwan-li-so No. 25 Chongjin, North Hamgyong 0.25 km² (0.1 mi²) 3,000+ Penitentiary style

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisons_in_North_Korea

It is no news to hear about the human rights abuses in North Korea, especially those pertaining to the conditions inside its prisons. Unsanitary conditions, and inhumane treatment of prisoners are the main cause of high mortality rates, causing prisoners to die of starvation, illnesses and from torture.

While the DPRK goverment denies allegations of human rights violations in prison camps, testimonies from former prisoners and North Korean defectors say otherwise.

Most of these prisoners are detained under the accusation of ‘political offences’ and are subject to guilt by association punishment, without any lawsuit or conviction.

Many of the internment camps are located in secluded locations such as mountain valleys. The estimated number of prisoners is estimated to be about 200,000, and at these camps, public execution is not uncommon. Harsh punishment is meted out to those who are ‘work too slowly’ or are disobedient to the law. Those detained are forced to perform dangerous and laborious work in mining and agriculture, and with little food, it is no surprise that an estimated 40% of prisoners die from malnutrition.

Today there are six political prison camps in North Korea (see above table), with an average size of 200 square kilometres and 40,000 prisoners in each camp.

Some of the prominent accounts / testimonies from former prisoners would be Shin Dong-hyuk who escaped from Camp 14, which you can check out in this biography: Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden. (Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11797365-escape-from-camp-14)

References:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/02/north-koreas-horrors-as-shown-by-one-defectors-drawings/283899/

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/north-korea-prison-escapee-says-7661797

 

Advertisements

Published by

seoulmusingsblog

Currently living and pursuing my undergraduate studies in South Korea.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s