Even by the low, low standards of North Korean "diplomats," the scene at the United Nations on Thursday was a particularly vile one.
At a panel discussion hosted by journalist Barbara Demick and U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, featuring testimony from North Korean refugees, official representatives of the North Korean government loudly interrupted the proceedings. (This despite the fact that, in true U.N. fashion, the North Korean government was to be allotted time to respond at the conclusion of the defector testimony.)
Daniel Aum, the Donald Wilson Fellow at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights, was at the event, and says that at the conclusion of the first defector testimony, the North Korean representatives began loudly reading from their scripts in an apparent attempt to drown out the refugees. The refugees fought back, standing and chanting phrases such as “Kim Jong-un should be sent to the ICC.” The officials were then spirited out of the room.
“Representatives of the DPRK government interrupted a UN side event today featuring a panel of North Korean defectors who were recounting their harrowing suffering in North Korea,” says Aum, “This is unfortunately indicative of North Korea's consistent and blatant disregard of its human rights obligations, U.N. resolutions, and a basic respect for human dignity.”
Ethan Epstein is an associate editor at The Weekly Standard. He's also written for the Wall Street Journal, National Journal,Slate, City Journal, and other publications. He holds a BA in history from Reed College.