A North Korean defector gives a horrible account of how people with mental or physical disabilities are seen as a stain on the nation’s image and are therefore used for performing experiments before being deliberately neglected until they die.
“Disabled children are being taken away, suffering indescribable things and dying,” said Ji Seong-ho, who escaped North Korea in 2006 after losing his left leg above the knee and his left hand at the wrist.
Ji, the founder of the organization Now, Action, Unity, Human Rights, or NAUH, who was in London this week to protest outside the North Korean embassy, added that this is contrary to the North Korean regime’s claim that there are no people with disabilities under the rule of dictator Kim Jong-un and that everyone is equal and living well, according to The Telegraph.
Hospital staff regularly take away babies born with disabilities soon after they are born, added Ji, a Christian who is writing a book on North Korea’s disabled people.
He said two other defectors told him that people with dwarfism are sent to a village in the remote mountains of Ryanggang Province. Talking about one such incident, he added, “They were forbidden to leave and left entirely to their own devices, without any outside help. The men were castrated so they would become extinct. There’s no-one left there by now.”
During the North Korea’s great famine in the mid-1990s, “the disabled received no food rations because they were not able to work and were not productive members of society,” Ji said. “As much as 80 percent of the disabled just starved to death.”
Last year, the Citizens’ Alliance on North Korean Human Rights released a study revealing that about 40 percent of defectors say babies born with disabilities are either killed or abandoned, and 43 percent say there’s “an island” where the disabled are forced to live.