Illustrations from North Korea – level 3

10-06-2014 07:00

These illustrated messages of misery by a man who survived more than two years in a North Korean prison camp show the unimaginable horrors prisoners are put through.

North Korean defector Kim Kwang-il, who was jailed for travelling to China to sell pine mushrooms, submitted the disturbing illustrations depicting torture, abuse and starvation. The sketches shed more light on what life is like inside North Korea.

This image shows prisoners being forced to stand in stress positions, which they describe as ’pigeon torture’. The prisoners are made to stand in the stress position for three days straight, enduring agonising pain.

A drawing of a prison guard kicking a man into a small cupboard illustrates how prisoners are forced to live in confined spaces. Another constant for many North Koreans is the threat of starvation. To survive, hungry prisoners resort to eating mice and snakes. The corpses of prisoners are typically eaten by mice or sent to the crematorium by other starving prisoners.

The sketches are part of a new, damning UN report that directly accuses leader Kim Jong-un of committing crimes against humanity, reminiscent of Nazi Germany. The 400-page report calls for Kim to face charges in the International Criminal Court – including the extermination, starvation and enslavement of the country’s population.

Difficult words: defector (somebody who leaves his country and joins the opposing one), to shed light on something (to reveal something about something), endure (to survive something very hard), agonising (extremely painful), confined (small), resort (to do something which you wouldn’t do normally), damning (extremely critical), extermination (killing of a lot of people), starvation (suffering or death because of no food).



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