The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea released a report Tuesday indicating that North Korea is holding 150,000 to 200,000 prisoners, a large number of who are political prisoners, on grounds and conditions violating international law.
The report is based on extensive interviews with over 60 defectors and more than 40 satellite photos of North Korean political prisoner camps.
The human rights group report calls for the dismantlement of the vast North Korean gulag system and contradicts North Korea's public declarations to the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2009 that the so-called political prisoner camps do not exist.
The report updates an earlier 2003 report which indicated that were some 3,000 former North Koreans who recently had found asylum in South Korea, among who were several scores of former North Korean political prisoners. According to the current report, there were some 23,000 former North Koreans prisoners who recently arrived in South Korea to seek asylum.
The report also states that former prisoners’ testify that there has been an extraordinarily high rate of deaths in detention (measured by the deaths of family members or those in work or residence units).