PYONGYANG, North Korea, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- North Korea demanded a stop to international pressure on its human rights record Tuesday, after a celebrated defector partially retracted his claims.
The defector and star witness at a United Nations inquiry into North Korea's human rights abuses, Shin Dong-hyuk, 32, admitted some parts of his tale of life in a North Korean prison were incorrect. Over the weekend he admitted to Blaine Harden, author of the book "Escape from Camp 14," that although episodes of torture and other elements of his story were true, some of the details, including dates and places of some experiences, were not.
Escapees from North Korea have painted a harrowing picture of life in prison camps there, and an exhaustive United Nations Human Rights Commission report recommend a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the country.
The website Uriminzokkiri, which has close ties to North Korean government, commented Tuesday, "All data on North Korea's human rights and related reports must be nullified, and plots on human rights... must be stopped. Anti-republic human rights liars should feel embarrassed and repent their crimes. It's not 'parts' of his story that are untrue. Everything he said and the things the so-called 'defectors' said and submitted to their American boss and the United Nations Human Rights Commission are all lies, woven with trickery."
Although it is unlikely the global movement to condemn North Korea's human rights abuses, including the possibility the International Criminal Court will take up the matter, will stop, the North Korean regime is seizing on Shin's admissions to persuade world opinion that information on torture and hardship at prison camps is untrue.
Shin's admissions should not stall or interrupt momentum to hold North Korea liable for abuses, Michael Kirbyy, the Australian judge who led the U.N. commission of inquiry and wrote its report, told the Washington Post Tuesday.
"It's a trivial issue. This is a traumatized person and the fact that he misstated some things is not at all surprising. This is one witness out of 300. His name is in the report only a couple of times, and North Korea should not get away with riding on the back of this disproportionate coverage.