AI: N. Korea's camp construction worrisome

March 7, 2013 at 12:54 PM
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KAECHON, North Korea, March 7 (UPI) -- Satellite images indicate North Korea is muddying lines between political prison camps and neighboring residential populations, Amnesty International said.

Amnesty International said in a release Thursday it issued a report on its findings and reiterated its call for the United Nations to name an independent inquiry to look into "grave, systematic and widespread human rights violations in North Korea -- including crimes against humanity."

Responding to reports of a new political prison camp being built adjacent to an existing facility in Kaechon, South Pyongan province, Amnesty International USA's Science for Human Rights program said it commissioned satellite imagery and analysis of the area.

Analysts found that from 2006 to February, North Korea constructed a perimeter around the Ch'oma-Bong valley and its inhabitants, installed new controlled access points and a number of probable guard towers, AI said. Analysts also found construction of new buildings that could be house workers likely associated with expanded mining activity.

The activity indicates a tightened control of movement of the local population near the camp, blurring the line between those detained in the camp and the valley's inhabitants and raising fears for the population within the perimeter and the North Korean government's intentions for the valley and its residents in the future, Amnesty International said.

"We expected to find a new or expanded prison camp. What we found is in some ways even more worrisome," said Frank Jannuzi, AIUSA deputy executive director. "The creation of a security perimeter with controlled access points and guard towers beyond what appears to be the formal boundaries of Camp 14 blurs the line between the more than 100,000 people ... and the neighboring civilian population."

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