Amnesty International was recently able to take some time off of their advocating for the return of Bradley Manning’s blanket to issue are report about the hundreds of thousands of North Koreans imprisoned and being tortured in concentration camps:
North Korea is holding around 200,000 people in huge political prison camps where inmates are forced to work in conditions approaching slavery and are often tortured, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
The rights group published recent satellite images showing four of the six camps located in vast wilderness sites in South Pyongan, South Hamkyung and North Hamkyung provinces.
A comparison with satellite pictures from 2001 indicated a significant increase in the scale of the camps, which are believed to have been operating since the 1950s, it said.
Amnesty International spoke to a number of people, including former inmates from the political prison camp at Yodok, as well as guards in other camps, revealing what it said were horrific conditions. [Reuters]
Normally I would say read the rest at the link, but don’t bother if you are someone who has been following this site or other North Korea related sites like One Free Korea that has long discussed everything Amnesty International is suddenly deciding to report. As regular readers know I have been highly critical of Amnesty International in the past for their obvious politically and financially motivated concerns towards human rights.
You can read the actual report they released on North Korea’s camp on their website at this link. What I find funny is that they are treating their publishing of satellite imagery of the camps as something new when One Free Korea has for years been publishing detailed Google Earth images of North Korea’s camps without a word of recognition from Amnesty International. If you can believe it that means that for this year, so far Amnesty International has released nine reports critical of South Korean human rights and only one for North Korea.
So this of course does little to change my opinion of Amnesty International. If they promote North Korean human rights causes over the long term that would change my opinion of them. In the meantime if people want to donate money to a worthy human rights cause they would be better off sending their money to organizations like Liberty in North Korea or the North Korea Freedom Coalition than Amnesty International.