The North Korean government may deny their existence, but photos taken from space have revealed in unprecedented detail the concentration camps that are used imprison more than 200,000 citizens.
Previously there have been blurred images taken by satellite but new detailed pictures from South Korea’s Unification Ministry allow a closer look at the sites – and also prove they have grown. Experts say the tens of thousands of prisoners at the camps are often taken from their homes or in the street for supposed ‘political crimes’ rather than actual misdemeanours.
Half of all the inmates will die of starvation or malnutrition with others dying because of fatal diseases that thrive in the squalid conditions.This is if they are not killed by torture, firing squad, or a public stoning by Kim Jong-Il’s violent guards, former prisoners say.
One of the photos shows the Yodok camp, which holds an estimated 50,000 North Korean prisoners and is hidden in the mountains around 70 miles from the capital Pyongyang. Amnesty International has compared the satellite images to those taken 10 years ago and confirms they are growing in size. Scott Edwards, director of the science and human rights program at Amnesty International added: ‘The fact that we would have to rely on satellite imagery just to dispel the government’s assertion that these camps don’t exist is testament really to the scale of the human travesty that might be going on inside.’
The news came as it was revealed the South Korean government will send a group of religious leaders and representatives to visit North Korea on a peace mission.