GENEVA -- The United Nations' human rights chief said Tuesday that “apparently systematic” human rights violations in North Korean detention centers, including sexual violence against women and girls, could amount to crimes against humanity.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said the alleged violations appeared to have taken place under the “direct authority of two ministries” and with the likely involvement of “higher authorities” in North Korea. She didn't name the ministries.
Bachelet told the Human Rights Council during an update on North Korea that the allegations are based on her office's improved monitoring of the reclusive Communist country, a nation admittedly difficult to peer into to keep tabs on human rights conditions.
“They may amount to crimes against humanity, which could engage the individual criminal responsibility of DPRK officials,” she told the 47-member council in Geneva, using the acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Pyongyang’s delegation stayed away during Bachelet’s brief speech.
The U.N.high commissioner said her office was trying to identify the people most responsible for the crimes and was also looking into the abduction of foreigners.