North Korea gulags 'hold 150,000'

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Yoon Sang-hyun, of the ruling Grand National Party, said inmates worked long hours in return for meagre food rations, reported Yonhap news agency.

Mr Yoon said he was basing his claims on a South Korean government report.

North Korea denies claims it abuses human rights. Earlier this year it amended its constitution to refer to its "respect" for human rights.

But human rights groups and North Korean refugees describe blatant, widespread and ongoing violations of basic rights in the Stalinist country.

In his statement to the National Assembly, Mr Yoon said North Korea used to operate 10 labour camps holding some 200,000 people in the 1990s, but had closed four under international pressure.

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