UN inquiry decries widespread abuses in North Korea

Members of the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in North Korea, Justice Michael Kirby (top 2nd right), Sonja Biserko (top right) and Marzuki Darusman (top left) hold a news conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on Aug 30,
Members of the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in North Korea, Justice Michael Kirby (top 2nd right), Sonja Biserko (top right) and Marzuki Darusman (top left) hold a news conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on Aug 30, 2013. Testimony by North Koreans exiles, including former political prison camp inmates, points to patterns that may amount to widespread and systematic violations by the state, United Nations human rights investigators said in their first report on Tuesday, Sept 17, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (REUTERS) - Testimony by North Koreans exiles, including former political prison camp inmates, points to patterns that may amount to widespread and systematic violations by the state, United Nations human rights investigators said in their first report on Tuesday.

Camp survivors suffered "starvation and unspeakable atrocities" and their individual testimonies given at public hearings in Seoul and Tokyo last month are not isolated cases, said Mr Michael Kirby, head of the independent inquiry.

"They are representative of large-scale patterns that may constitute systematic and gross human rights violations," Mr Kirby told the UN Human Rights Council. He said the inquiry would seek to determine which institutions and officials were responsible.