A United Nations panel released a report Monday saying that "unspeakable atrocities" and crimes against humanity have been committed in North Korea and that the U.N. will call for an international criminal investigation, the most serious attempt yet to probe evidence of grave and systematic rights violations in the authoritarian state.
"The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world," the U.N. Commission of Inquiry (COI) said in a statement.
The 400-page report is the result of a yearlong investigation of North Korean authorities' alleged rights violations. It documents evidence of systematic torture and other atrocities committed in the country and its political prison camps, where 80,000 to 120,000 people are estimated to be held.
"These crimes against humanity entail extermination; murder; enslavement; torture; imprisonment; rape; forced abortions and other sexual violence; persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds; the forcible transfer of populations; the enforced disappearance of persons; and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation," the statement added.