Big Brother is back
Channel 4 might have jumped ship on that format, but here at Amnesty, we are still very into it.
Today we released a new round of satellite images, which reveal the alarming rate at which secret prison camps in North Korea are expanding.
Ahead of the succession that everyone is anticipating, Kim Jong-il is shoring up his tyrannical grip on power by clamping down on dissent more fervently than ever. The number of people being sent to the camps in on the rise.
An estimated 200,000 people are being held in the camps, with nearly 40% dying from malnutrition.
The horrific, nightmarish conditions in the camps left even hardened Amnesty veterans aghast. Executions are common, and punishments include being kept in a box less than a metre square, in one instance for more than six months solid, without being able to lie down, nor stand up.
Guilt by association refers to the practice of family members being sent to the camps, just because they are related to someone accused of a crime. Very few of the inmates have had a proper trial and very many of them do not even know what they are supposed to have done to end up there.
We might now know the scale of the camps, but at the moment the authorities do not even admit that they are there, and so it is as if all the cameras in the house, bar one looking at the windows from the garden, are turned off.
The testimony we have compiled from those who have fled the camps gives us some indication as to what is going on inside. But what we want is for Kim Jong-il to acknowledge the camps and close them down. Like one of the many who stayed tuned to the Channel 4 footage of bird call, and sleeping housemates in the small hours of the night, we are not going to stop watching – however uncomfortable – until that is done. Place your vote, here.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.