Life Inside a North Korean Prison Camp

The news has been buzzing with reports of the two U.S. journalists who were sentenced to 12 years imprisonment with hard labor in North Korea.  Laura Ling and Euna Lee were convicted of an unspecified “grave crime” after they were arrested in March while investigating human rights abuses of North Korean women.

Amnesty's T. Kumar on CNN's American Morning

Amnesty's T. Kumar on CNN's American Morning

The conviction is outrageous and Amnesty International is calling for the pair’s immediate release.  The U.S. government is also scrambling to negotiate their release.

But in the mean time, what do Lee and Ling face in a North Korean labor camp?  Amnesty’s own T. Kumar was asked just that by John Roberts on CNN this morning.    His responses show the horrifying fate in store for anyone sent to one of these camps.  Here is an excerpt from Kumar’s interview:

John Roberts: If they were sent to one of these prison camps or hard labor camps, what kind of conditions would they encounter based on the studies you’ve done?
T. Kumar: We have to divide the situation into two categories. First is about the living conditions. The living conditions are extremely harsh. It’s overcrowded, very little food and very little, if any, medical attention. Then every day they have to work for more than ten hours. Very hard labor starting from breaking stones to working in the mines. And very little food again during the day.
Roberts: Very high rates of death in detention among these prisoners?
Kumar: Yes. It’s a combination of facts why the deaths are occurring. Number one, it’s hard and forced labor. Second, it’s lack of food. And unhygienic environment…There is no medical attention at all in many cases. So combined of all of these issues, [there is a] very large number of people who die in these prison camps.

Visit cnn.com to read the full interview.

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16 thoughts on “Life Inside a North Korean Prison Camp

  1. Pingback: Help Release Laura Ling and Euna Lee | Human Rights Now - Amnesty International USA Blog

  2. A nation that maintains gulags, torture dungeons, one that ignores the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Principles–The United States–has absolutely no moral authority or fundamental credibility to constitute a valid basis for criticizing North Korea; or for that matter, for criticizing Stalin. Until America cleans up its own act, it should shut the hell up.

  3. A nation that maintains gulags, torture dungeons, one that ignores the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Principles–The United States–has absolutely no moral authority or fundamental credibility to constitute a valid basis for criticizing North Korea; or for that matter, for criticizing Stalin. Until America cleans up its own act, it should shut the hell up.

  4. what were they doing screwing around north korea? you play with fire you get burned. sorry girls

  5. what were they doing screwing around north korea? you play with fire you get burned. sorry girls

  6. Who are the idiots that are posting here?

    Is this the kind of crowd that "Amnesty International" draws?

    Truly pathetic.

  7. Who are the idiots that are posting here?

    Is this the kind of crowd that “Amnesty International” draws?

    Truly pathetic.

  8. Whenever the issue of human rights comes up, some people use it as an excuse to bash the US. The time for that has come and gone. I'm an American and I am deeply ashamed of the human rights violations my country has committed. I also have faith that under President Obama, America's moral compass will start pointing in the right direction. Politics being what it is, that progress may not be as fast as we want, but it will happen.

    What the US has done is totally irrelevant to what North Korea may do to these journalists. These women were on a mission to expose NK's regime and tell the world. Their mission was morally unassailable. This is a standoff between the world's most barbaric state and the most fundamental foundations of human decency. The world must put an end to NK's death camps by whatever means necessary. With Kim Jong Il in poor health and his 26-year-old son poised to take over, there has never been a better time to take decisive action. As I suggest in another thread, that may include nuclear attack. Extreme situations require extreme responses.

  9. Whenever the issue of human rights comes up, some people use it as an excuse to bash the US. The time for that has come and gone. I’m an American and I am deeply ashamed of the human rights violations my country has committed. I also have faith that under President Obama, America’s moral compass will start pointing in the right direction. Politics being what it is, that progress may not be as fast as we want, but it will happen.

    What the US has done is totally irrelevant to what North Korea may do to these journalists. These women were on a mission to expose NK’s regime and tell the world. Their mission was morally unassailable. This is a standoff between the world’s most barbaric state and the most fundamental foundations of human decency. The world must put an end to NK’s death camps by whatever means necessary. With Kim Jong Il in poor health and his 26-year-old son poised to take over, there has never been a better time to take decisive action. As I suggest in another thread, that may include nuclear attack. Extreme situations require extreme responses.

  10. Two wrongs does not make a right!!!!!! If America is doing wrong, that doesn't mean N. Korea has the right to bash two women who are mothers and wives. Free them…We have to respect our women!!!!! Their children are waiting for them…I'm sure they can pay the consequences by other means!

  11. Two wrongs does not make a right!!!!!! If America is doing wrong, that doesn’t mean N. Korea has the right to bash two women who are mothers and wives. Free them…We have to respect our women!!!!! Their children are waiting for them…I’m sure they can pay the consequences by other means!

  12. Are you people (esp. Zeugitai) so dimwitted that you can't distinguish between DEGREES of culpability???

    The US pressures a few al Qaeda detainees (who admit plotting to kill civilians) by making them THINK they can't breathe (waterboarding)…..and that is equivalent in your minds to North Korea beating, torturing, starving and killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians whose crime is usually nothing at all, and at worst is diagreeing with Kim Jong Il?

    Your brains have turned to mush in your zealous drive to slam the US

  13. Are you people (esp. Zeugitai) so dimwitted that you can’t distinguish between DEGREES of culpability???

    The US pressures a few al Qaeda detainees (who admit plotting to kill civilians) by making them THINK they can’t breathe (waterboarding)…..and that is equivalent in your minds to North Korea beating, torturing, starving and killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians whose crime is usually nothing at all, and at worst is diagreeing with Kim Jong Il?

    Your brains have turned to mush in your zealous drive to slam the US

  14. Pingback: Welcome Back Laura Ling and Euna Lee! | Human Rights Now - Amnesty International USA Blog