What does “human rights abuse” actually mean to the North Koreans?

Here at The Jambar, we enjoy light-hearted news. We like ridiculous stories — things that are absurd, things that are so far into left field that we wonder why they need to be covered by actual journalists.

This is not one of those stories.

Earlier this year, North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong Un made building a ski resort one of the country’s top priorities. After unsuccessfully trying to import ski lifts from France and Austria, they turned to the ever-malevolent Swiss. The final offer was $7.7 million. The Swiss declined, not out of dislike, but rather because of new sanctions that forbade selling luxury items to North Korea.

After the refusal, North Korea’s state news agency, the Korean Central News Agency, issued a press release calling the Swiss’ actions “an intolerable mockery of the social system” and “a serious human rights abuse.”

A human rights abuse? Really?!

What about the people in your country that are starving? What about the concentration camps that one United Nations investigator said had not been seen since the Nazis controlled Europe? None of these things fall into Kim Jong Un’s category of human rights abuses, but a country refusing you a ski lift does? This is where you draw the line?

This needs to be the wakeup call to both North Korea and the western world that tends to step in and deal with these issues when they arise.

For the west, this is the ultimate signal that the North Korean leadership is not acting rationally — something that has been evident for a decent amount of time by now. The time has come for something more serious, something like the embargo on luxury items to North Korea. Taking away the only thing that Kim Jong Un apparently cares about will get their attention and hopefully lead to some much needed change that is so desperately needed.

For North Korea, this is the ultimate case of it being the child that screams to get what it wants. This is where the world leaders trying to get North Korea into line need to stand their ground. It shouldn’t be difficult; it’s just luxury goods. But it’s important that ground is stood and compromises aren’t made.

And maybe, just maybe, this can be a wakeup call to Kim Jong Un and the North Korean leaders around him, a sign that things must change right now.

But then again, when was the last time anyone remembers the North Korean government acting rationally?