Nightly News   |  February 17, 2014

UN Documents North Korea’s ‘Unimaginable Cruelties’

A UN report based on interviews with defectors and survivors says the scale and nature of the Kim dynasty’s human rights violations “has no parallel.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening, today, an official of the united nations tried to tell the world so there will be no mistake that we are living in the middle of a modern-day hitler. we are talking about kim jong -un, the young leader of north korea . and this report from the u.n. is an attempt to wake up the world so no one will ever say as they did after world war ii , for instance, that they didn't realize how bad it was until it was too late. this evidence is based on interviews from defectors and survivors. the u.n. said today north korea , quote, has no parallel in the contemporary world. it is where we begin our broadcast tonight with our chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell .

>> reporter: north korea kim jong -un at his father's grave, a birthday tribute. even as he's accused of nazi-had like extremities, killings, torture, imprisonment, rapes and forced abortions .

>> there will be no excusing a failure of action because we didn't know. we do know.

>> reporter: the survivors of the prison kept pictures to illustrate the torture and public humiliation and starvation. this man, a prisoner at camp 15 said a fellow prisoner trying to escape was dragged back to the camp behind a truck then executed for all to see. this woman, in prison for 28 years, drew pictures after she got out. she said guards would spit in their mouths. if they gagged, they would be beaten, former human rights watchers said many lost their minds, many searched for snakes or mice to feed their children. when women prisoners gave birth, the guards forced others to kill the baby by drowning it in water or choking it by holding a cloth or other item against its face, or putting the baby face down so that it can't breathe.

>> this report is really the most comprehensive documentation that we've seen of the unimaginable criticuelties of the north korean prison camp . this man who defected said that today's report will bring hope to the north korean people. but will they ever learn from it.

>> i don't think there is a country that is sealed like north korea .

>> reporter: the u.n. warns that countries like china it would be guilty of aiding and abetting others. they call the charges a plot to defame and sabotage its country. advocates where china has no veto say they should take action.

>> andrea, it is hard to hear about, but the u.n. says they need the world to know. andrea mitchell from our d.c. news room, thank