North Korea slams US as ‘gross violator of human rights’


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SEOUL: North Korea has denounced US President Donald Trump’s administration as a “gross violator of human rights”, its state media reported Wednesday.

The official Korean Central News Agency released its English-language report on Pyongyang’s annual white paper on US human rights violations as Trump began his State of the Union speech, in which he condemned the North.

North Korea’s rights rights record is heavily criticised by both the United States and the United Nations, and it is estimated to have up to 120,000 political prisoners in its sprawling gulag system.

Washington issues an annual human rights report which consistently ranks the North among the world’s worst offenders, but Pyongyang’s document focuses exclusively on the US.

“The US, ‘guardian of democracy’ and ‘human rights champion’, is kicking up the human rights racket but it can never camouflage its true identity as the gross violator of human rights,” KCNA cited the white paper as saying.

“Racial discrimination and misanthropy are serious maladies inherent to the social system of the US, and they have been aggravated since Trump took office,” it said, referencing the violent demonstrations in Charlottesville last year.

Working-class Americans were “hovering in the abyss of nightmare”, it added, deprived of homes and jobs, and facing soaring medical fees.

But several of Trump’s top officials are “billionaires from conglomerates”, it said, with senior public servants’ total assets worth $14 billion.

“The anti-popular policies the Trump administration pursued openly in one year were, without exception, for the interests of a handful of the rich circles,” it said.

A UN commission published a searing report in 2014, which concluded North Korea was committing human rights violations “without parallel in the contemporary world”.

The report, based on the testimony of hundreds of North Korean exiles, has shored up international efforts to pressure Pyongyang for its human rights violations.

Pyongyang has described the report as a work of fiction authored by the United States and its allies. —AFP