It should come as no surprise that North Korea is threatening parts of the United States with annihilation. For decades, the North Korean regime has been systematically annihilating segments of its own population. More specifically, the North Korean regime has been engaged for decades in the supreme human rights offense of genocide — the deliberate attempt to exterminate entire racial, ethnic or religious groups.
The entire human rights framework embraced by the civilized nations of the world in the aftermath of the Second World War is rooted in a desire to avoid genocide. The civilized world had recoiled in collective horror at the full extent of Nazi atrocities in the concentration camps. So a legal system was created that confers an affirmative obligation on the United Nations and U.N. member states to do something to stop genocide wherever it may occur.
But that system has failed so far with respect to North Korea. Arguably, the system also failed in other cases of modern genocide in Africa, the Balkans, Southeast Asia and elsewhere. But nowhere has it failed more systematically and completely than in North Korea.
The actions of the North Korean government are tantamount to genocide in two specific cases.
First, the North Korean regime has an official policy of exterminating mixed-race children in the name of an ideology of North Korean “racial purity.” This is carried out through both forced abortions and infanticides motivated by a deep-rooted disdain for ethnically mixed children, in particular those of Chinese descent. Sources even suggest that forced abortions may be carried out on all pregnant women who are repatriated from China on the assumption that the father of the child could be Chinese — and without asking the mother about whether or not that is the case.
Second, the North Korean regime similarly practices a policy of extermination against Christians. If identified by the government, Christians and their families are sent to labor and extermination camps, never to return. This is because Christians — like Jews in Nazi Germany — are officially regarded as enemies of the state and agents of the United States.
Interestingly, while Hollywood has made a series of deeply moving films on the Nazi Holocaust — from “The Pianist” to “Schindler’s List” — there has been deafening silence with respect to the greatest and longest-running modern holocaust in North Korea. Nor has it helped that most entertainment content on North Korea follows the vapid and sophomoric pattern of movies like “The Interview.” We must challenge Hollywood to make a compelling movie about the North Korean concentration camps, where entire generations are born and die without even learning the existence of a world beyond the barbed wire of the slave labor camp.
Of course, we should all hope and pray that the latest round of North Korean nuclear rhetoric is simply more saber rattling by the regime in Pyongyang — a regime so prone to threats that few in South Korea even pay attention any more. But the genocidal extermination of Christians and mixed-race children in North Korea is ongoing.
This cannot be allowed to stand by the international community if it is to avoid repeating the failures of history in Nazi Germany, Serbia, Rwanda and Cambodia. We need to galvanize world opinion now for action to end the human rights holocaust in North Korea.
• Matthew Daniels, J.D., Ph.D., is Chair of Law & Human Rights at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C., and creator of www.universalrights.com. These are links for Human Rights Network videos on North Korea: “The North Korean Holocaust” https://youtu.be/NV-JYs_Dz5E; “Farther Away Than Africa” https://youtu.be/2I5T77XERxE; and “Escape from North Korea” https://youtu.be/zf3YkEnXh7Y
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