Horror on Our Watch

In 2012, Dr. Lamont Colucci was approached by U.S. News and World Report to write a weekly column on foreign policy and national security. This is under the aegis of World Report – Insights, perspectives, and commentary on foreign affairs. View the article on

On the day after North Korea launched four scud missiles into the East Sea, and days after the upheaval in the Ukraine, the world has quickly forgotten the recent United Nations report about human rights abuses in North Korea. But the High Commissioner for Human Rights hit the nail on the head when he argued that the issue of nuclear weapons and North Korea should not overshadow the abuses of human rights in the Hermit Kingdom.

In an act that seems out of sync with the United Nations, the commission clearly and unequivocally condemned the tyranny of the North Korean regime against its own people. Further, in what seems even more incredible given the U.N.’s horrible track record of pursuing the issue of human rights, the chairman of the report, Judge Michael Kirby, wrote a letter directed at the dictator of North Korea informing him that the report would recommend referral of this evidence to the International Criminal Court, potentially holding the dictator responsible for crimes against humanity.

Kirby wrote, “I hope that the international community will be moved by the detail, the amount, the long duration, the great suffering and the many tears that have existed in North Korea to act on the crimes against humanity … Too many times in this building there are reports and no action … Well, now is a time for action. We can’t say we didn’t know.” In an even further surprise, knowing that the Security Council will veto any such move due to China’s vote, the commission recommended forming an ad-hoc tribunal, as it did to investigate crimes in the Balkans and Rwanda.

Naturally, North Korea dismissed the report, portraying itself as a victim of Western, particularly American, propaganda. Many believe that its recent concession on family reunions between North and South Korea is a fig leaf to cover up the horrible human rights conditions inside the communist state. North Korea’s parent state, China, meanwhile, called the report “unreasonable criticism” and China’s foreign ministry refused to answer the question of whether or not China would veto any recommendation based on the report to the U.N. Security Council. China, whose own human rights abuses cause the regime in Beijing extraordinary embarrassment, has blocked U.N. investigators from going to the border with North Korea to talk to refugees, who China terms “illegal migrants.”

People often wonder how the world could have sat by while Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Castro’s Cuba or Pol Pot’s Cambodia exterminated, tortured and abused millions of people. The evils of communism and National Socialism scared humanity like no other evil in the history of the world. Yet we are witnesses to this same inhuman event today. In the left-wing totalitarian nightmare that is North Korea, people are exterminated, tortured, raped, starved, abducted and forgotten. These people have been reduced to a level of barbarity not seen since the Killing Fields of Cambodia, the concentration camps in Poland or the gulag archipelago of the Soviet Union. These North Korean camps have names too, names like Kaechon, Yodok, Pukchang and Hoeryong. They should be memorized just as the world has memorized names like Auschwitz and Kolyma.

The United States national security establishment is rightfully concerned with the issue of terrorism. In this instance, the North Korean communist party, under the guise of being a state, is the terrorist. Terrorists are clinically defined as those that use violence against civilians for political goals. We are used to thinking of terrorist groups like al-Qaida, the Red Brigades or Hezbollah. There is no difference in the actions of the Kim regime in North Korea and al-Qaida. The only difference is that the communist party in North Korea possesses a 100 percent monopoly on weapons, power and force; they do so in the guise of the state, wearing uniforms and various insignia of office.

The existence of this regime and its actions is inimical to the security and values of the United States. The report itself will not change North Korea. The illegal regime in North Korea is an abomination against both God and man. It violates the bedrock of natural law that the United States was founded on: life, liberty and property. It has wantonly attempted to destroy all of these. The regime’s days should be cataloged and numbered; the Kim dynasty should be ended and the great powers ought to be embarrassed at how long it is taking.