Investigators to zero in on massive political prison camps in North Korea where escapees warn of torture and execution

SEOUL—A new United Nations field office in Seoul focused on North Korean human rights will build a more comprehensive picture of violations inside the country and increase pressure on its regime to close

a network of political prison camps, the head of the office said.

The six-person office is the latest step in a process by the U.N. to gather information about alleged crimes against humanity in North Korea. Early last year, a U.N. commission of inquiry issued a 400-page



report that alleged widespread and systematic human rights abuses in North Korea.

“We’re looking to bring more depth to the report. Seoul is the best place to be for that,” Signe Poulsen, representative for the office, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview. Ms. Poulsen arrived in South

Korea in August and will coordinate information gathering from North Korean refugees, activist groups, academics and other North Korea-related parties.

At the center of the allegations are four city-sized political prison camps in North Korea visible using satellite imagery. Testimony from escapees, guards and other officials has built a picture of torture,

starvation and execution at the camps, which human rights groups estimate hold 80,000-120,000 people considered hostile to the regime. The North Korean government denies the existence of the camps.
U.N. Office in Seoul Intensifying Probes of Alleged Rights Abuses in North Korea - WSJ