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Heartbreaking accounts of infanticide and forced abortions in North Korea

Forced abortions and infanticide – the purposeful causing of a baby’s death – are among the human rights atrocities experienced by women who have attempted to flee North Korea, according to a United Nations Human Rights report.

100 women have shared ‘heartbreaking’ first-hand accounts of the suffering they and their babies have suffered while in North Korean detention centres.

Researchers found abortions were routinely conducted without the consent of the women detainees and often through violence.

Additionally, they were told about “the killing of new-born babies and the death of women due to lack of medical assistance”.

‘No medical attention’

In one tragic incident of infanticide, one woman’s baby was killed by officials who had forced a premature delivery. The mother reportedly died one week later because she had not received any medical assistance.

The eyewitness account states: “She was taken out of the holding centre and given an injection to make her miscarry. I saw her giving birth with my own eyes… I heard crying, but then the baby was placed face down, wrapped in plastic and taken out of the cell by a prison guard… No medical attention was given [to the mother]. She died after a week or so.”

Left to die in the cold

In another incident, one woman told researchers she may have witnessed a baby left to die in temperatures well below freezing after officials had tortured her heavily pregnant mother to induce premature labour.

She said: “The guards put bricks on her back, and forced her to walk around. She had to walk with the bricks every day for a week or so. She eventually gave birth. The baby was alive when born. I was told to wrap the baby and put it outside. The woman had to work the following day.”

The witness did not see what happened to the baby, but believes the baby may have been left to die in sub-zero conditions during North Korea’s winter.

Forced abortion

One woman disclosed how another woman was forced to have an abortion as her baby had a Chinese father.

“I suffered no violence but the other woman had become pregnant in China so the guards knew that her baby had Chinese blood. This was an issue as the local laws prevented any North Korean woman from giving birth to a mixed race baby. The doctor in the MPS centre told her to get an abortion despite the fact that she wanted to keep the baby. She was eventually forced to have an abortion and sent to a kyohwaso…,” the report said.

‘Systematic’ violations

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said: “These accounts show once again the systemic nature of human rights violations in the DPRK, and the need to keep seeking pathways to proper accountability for such crimes.

“The UN Human Rights Office will continue to gather evidence of this kind to support a process of criminal accountability, whenever and wherever possible.”

The report concludes with recommendations calling for the Government to bring the detention system into line with international norms and standards.

One recommendation states the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) should “take immediate measures to end forced abortion as well as violence intended to provoke miscarriage, including through specific legislation prohibiting such practices, and conduct prompt and impartial investigations into allegations of such acts; and ensure the prosecution of those responsible.”

‘We heard mothers screaming’

Speaking at a UN event in 2017, Ji Hyeon described how she was forced to have an abortion without medication at a local police station when she was three months pregnant.

“My first child passed away without ever seeing the world, without any time for me to apologize,” she tearfully said.

“Pregnant women were forced into harsh labour all day. At night, we heard pregnant mothers screaming and babies died without ever being able to see their mothers.”

At one detention centre, she described how inmates starved to death with their dead bodies given to the guard dogs for food.

‘Barbaric’

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: “The barbarity being reported in North Korea is shocking. Forced abortion is not restricted to North Korea, however, and is a barbaric practice which we must work to end wherever it happens.”

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Dear reader,

Thanks to the support of people like you, on Monday 5 July, a major attempt to hijack the UK Government’s flagship Police , Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill with two extreme abortion proposals failed, in a major pro-life victory.

Unfortunately, this major defeat is not the end for our opposition.

The abortion lobby has already been successful at using the Coronavirus crisis to temporarily introduce ‘DIY’ home abortions.

The policy has not only accompanied a large increase in the number of lives ended by abortion but has also been linked to a number of serious incidents where women’s lives have been put at risk while performing their abortion at home.

Our opposition is now eager to see more widespread changes to legislation enacted and we are currently facing major threats on three fronts:

  1. The abortion lobby is further exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to attempt to make dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortions available permanently.
  2. The Northern Ireland Secretary has given himself new powers to force expanded abortion services on Northern Ireland.
  3. The assisted suicide lobby has brought foward a bill to legalise assisted suicide, which was introduced to the House of Lords on 26 May.

If these major threats from our opposition are successful, it would be a disaster. Thousands of lives would be lost. We can’t sit on the sidelines and watch these extreme anti-life changes become a reality.

As you can see, while we have won our most recent battle, we continue to be facing a very large challenge on life issues in the UK over the next couple of months – and we will be facing this across multiple fronts.

We are, therefore, appealing to you to please give as generously as you can. Every donation, no matter how small, will go towards saving the lives of the unborn and many others.

By stopping these threats, YOU can save lives over this coming period.

Will you make a special gift right now to help protect vulnerable lives from these threats?

Q

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Q

Be the first to know…

When you sign up for email updates from us, you will be receiving:

Action alerts on the latest pro-life developments along with tools to help you change hearts and minds

Opportunities to help protect and defend more lives

Where should we send your updates?
By clicking submit, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms below.

Right To Life UK will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch with you and to provide updates. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at info@righttolife.org.uk. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please see our Privacy Policy.

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