North Korea says Switzerland’s refusal to sell it ski-lifts is ‘a serious human rights abuse’

Pariah state calls Swiss blocking of imports 'an intolerable mockery’
  • @josephcharlton4

Kim Jong Un’s attempt to finish his luxury ski-resort is facing a setback after Switzerland said it was observing the UN embargo on importing luxury goods to North Korea.

The Communist state may have hoped to circumnavigate international sanctions by approaching Switzerland – a a country which has, in the past, extended their neutrality even to Pyongyang.

But the $7.7m (£4.8m) offer to a Swiss company has been rejected, with the pariah state responding with instant ire. 

A statement from the government controlled Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) read: “This is an intolerable mockery of the social system and the people of the DPRK and a serious human rights abuse that politicizes sports and discriminates against the Koreans”.

The KCNA also contended that the decision violated the country’s dignity and threatened to deprive North Koreans of their right to enjoy a cultural life.

Supreme leader Kim John Un developed a love of skiing while at school in Switzerland as a teenager. During the past ten months the Masik Pass resort being developing in a secluded eastern part of North Korea has been billed as a top national priority, with builders being put under pressure to complete work on ski runs, resort chalets and sleigh rides before the 10 October opening date.

Meanwhile a former North Korea prisoner has spoken out about her time spent imprisoned by the pariah state in the 1970s.

Kim Young-soon told the BBC that she had been incarcerated for nine years and warned western tourists againsts visiting the country.

She said: “My parents were starved to death in Yodok camp... I had to take their bodies on my back and bury them... and I also had my nine-year-old son drowned and I had to do the same for my boy as well”.

Amnesty International, which monitors prison camps in North Korea by using satellite technology, estimates that 200,000 people are being held around the country.