North Korean state media has reacted angrily to the establishment of a UN human rights field office in Seoul on Wednesday calling it “an unpardonable hostile act and intolerable political provocation against the DPRK.”
The reaction was published in the form of an editorial in the North Korea daily national newspaper the Rodong Sinmun under the headline, “Unworkable Plot of Human Rights Violators“.
The editorial rejects criticism levelled against North Korea and alleges that South Korea, in accepting the establishment of the UN office, are “viciously conducting smear campaigns against the DPRK over its human rights.”
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) confirmed on May 5 that the UN would establish a field office in South Korea and would continue the work of the UN Commission of Inquiry’s February report.
The 372 page document concluded the existence of “systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights” that in some instances amount to crimes against humanity and recommended that a field-based office be set up to “build on the collection of evidence and documentation work of the commission, and further expand its database.”
North Korea rejected the report’s findings and recommendations, saying that it was a fabricated document created by “hostile forces”.
The Rodong Sinmun article also accuses the South Korean government of establishing the office in an effort to divert attention away from its handling of the Sewol ferry disaster, for which it received heavy criticism.
“It is a clumsy trick to divert the public attention elsewhere and thus get rid of the worsening ruling crisis caused by the ferry “Sewol” disaster and cover up their crimes of having reduced south Korea to a wasteland of human rights,” the article read.
The article goes on to cite suicide, unemployment and crime rates within South Korea as evidence that it has become what the article calls “a living hell under the misrule of the traitors.”
North Korea’s state run news agency the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) also reported on the editorial, carrying quotes from the newspaper article and calling the establishment of the UN office a “politically-motivated provocation against the DPRK.”
The Rodong Sinmun article concluded that South Korea’s actions “are driving the inter-Korean relations to catastrophe and bringing about only a serious danger of war on the Korean peninsula.”
Image: Eric Lafforgue