Friday, November 6th 2015
On October 9, 2015, Greg Scarlatoiu, the executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, posted a report, “Muddying the Waters: North Korea’s Deceptive Media Offensive,” on his organization’s website. He refuted North Korean charges of the kidnapping of a waitress at a North Korean state-owned restaurant in Phnom Penh, using the case study to reveal the larger “media offensive” and disinformation that serve the purposes of the North Korean regime.
By offering this story to a prominent U.S. media organization, the North Korean authorities likely attempted to counter efforts by the UN and the international community to focus attention on South Korean nationals and citizens of other countries abducted by North Korea. * * * * *
On the upside, the North Korean regime’s approach to human rights has surely changed post-UN COI. [Editor’s note: the February, 2014, report of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry] Its fundamental strategic stance on human rights used to be utter neglect. Always overshadowed by nukes and missiles, human rights would easily disappear off the radar screen of the international community, so the Kim regime knew there wasn’t much to worry about. Post-UN COI, even the North Korean regime has come to the realization that human rights is here to stay, and it can no longer just ignore attempts by UN agencies, foreign government agencies, and international NGOs to shed light on its abysmal human rights situation. Pursuant to the findings of the UN COI, North Korea is no longer seen as a bizarre relic of the Cold War, but as a post-communist, post-industrial, dynastic kleptocracy that is subjecting its own people to crimes against humanity in order to maintain its grip on power.
On the downside, North Korean attempts to compromise witnesses and muddy the waters by misleading foreign media organizations will continue.