Infanticide, Forced Abortions Common Practice in North Korean Camps

SEOUL, February 21, 2005 ( – A defector, testifying at human rights hearings Tuesday, said that infanticide and forced abortion are common practices in North Korean detention camps. 

“I heard the cries of both mother and child through the curtain (at a hospital). And through the partially open curtain, I witnessed the nurse covering the infant’s face with a wet towel on a table, suffocating it,” said the 28-year-old woman, identified as Park Sun-ja, according to a report.

“The baby stopped crying about ten minutes later,” Park added. She was testifying at an international conference discussing human rights abuses in North Korea. Her real name was withheld for her protection. 

Park observed the infanticide while a prisoner at Shinuiju Provincial Detention Camp for two months after a failed escape in 2000 led to her capture in China. She successfully escaped to South Korea in 2002. 

“All the prisoners there believed that all infants were killed immediately upon delivery and wrapped up in a piece of cloth before being buried at a nearby hill,” Park said. She said injections were the usual method used to induce early delivery of the child. 

“I cannot even imagine how she may have felt,” she said. “I heard that these kinds of acts were done before, but once I saw them with my eyes, I didn’t feel like living in the society again.” 


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