North Korean diplomats disrupt UN human rights panel

North Korean diplomats interrupted statements by defectors from the country concerning human rights abuses which were made at the United Nations

Updated Jul 28, 2015

North Korean diplomats on Thursday interrupted a UN panel discussing prisons in the country by reading an unauthorised statement.

Three North Korean diplomats attended the US and South Korean panel on human rights in North Korea, and one began unexpectedly delivering a statement after defector Joseph Kim spoke about his father dying of starvation and enduring a childhood of poverty and hunger.

Defectors told harrowing accounts of human rights abuses during the US sponsored "Victims Voices" event.

US Ambassador Samantha Power called for the microphone to remain off as North Korean diplomat Ri Song Chol delivered a six-minute statement. She warned that UN security would be called to remove the delegation.

The North Korean delegation left the conference room after concluding their statement.

Samantha Power described the disturbance as "a self-discrediting exercise" and accused North Korea of bullying dissidents.

A UN Commission of Inquiry report last year detailed abuses in North Korea that it said were comparable to Nazi-era atrocities. The UN Security Council added the issue of rights in North Korea to its agenda in December.

North Korean diplomat Ri said Pyongyang rejected all claims of rights abuses. 

Defector Jay Jo broke down as she spoke about the starvation and torture suffered by her family. "It makes my heart enraged whenever I think about the North Korean regime," she said.

TRTWorld and agencies