The 98-page report by the US-based watchdog details widespread sexual abuse allegedly carried out by North Korean government officials against women with near total impunity. The report is based off of dozens of interviews with sexual abuse victims who have defected.
"I was a victim many times… On the days they felt like it, market guards or police officials could ask me to follow them to an empty room outside the market, or some other place they'd pick. What can we do? They consider us [sex] toys," Oh Jung Hee, a former trader, was quoted in the report as saying.
"We [women] are at the mercy of men. Now, women cannot survive without having men with power near them."
The report goes on to note that "unwanted sexual contact and violence is so common that it has come to be accepted as part of ordinary life [in North Korea]."
Hong, who is also an associate professor at University of California Santa Cruz, told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Thursday that the work published by Human Rights Watch is "extraordinarily condescending."
"On the one hand you can see that this is a kind of rearing of the ugly head of the interventionist human rights industry, and it's also a recourse on the level of methodology to extraordinarily flawed ways of looking at North Korea," she said, before explaining that basing a report solely on defector testimonials was questionable.
"Defectors are notoriously unreliable source of information, and information that is gleaned from defectors, in the case of North Korea… this has been instrumentally used to actually make the case for war."
"What we're looking at right now is a kind of lense that is aimed at war… we're hearing the beating of the war drum," she stressed.
Of the 106 individuals interviewers spoke with, 57 defected after 2011, when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un came to power. The Human Rights Watch report was released as the South Korean government declared its support for a human rights resolution submitted to the UN General Assembly's Third Committee, Yonhap reported. Should the resolution be adopted, it will become the 14th year that the UN has condemned human rights abuses taking place in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
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