(Seoul) – North Korea’s decision to celebrate late leader Kim Jong-Il’s birthday on February 16, 2016, with a satellite launch should not distract the international community from the regime’s extensive abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. Instead, the international community and the United Nations should focus on steps to bring the Kim family to account for the grave violations and crimes against humanity they have inflicted on the North Korean people.
“No one should forget that dictator Kim Jong-Il presided over one of the world’s most repressive and abusive governments in the world, ruling by fear and prioritizing power at all costs, even when his people were starving,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The only worthy commemoration of Kim Jong-Il’s legacy would be for his son, current leader Kim Jong-Un, to immediately halt ongoing abuses and provide reparations to all victims.”
Kim Jong-Il ruled North Korea for 17 years following the 1994 death of his father, Kim Il-Sung, the founder of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Kim Jong-Un succeeded Kim Jong-Il as leader of North Korea after his father’s death in 2011.