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North Korean defector says mother forced to kill own child at prison camp

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August 21, 2013: Michael Donald Kirby, center, the chairman of the U.N. commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea, listens to Ahn Myung-chul, right, who worked as a guard and driver at several political prisoner camps in the 1990s before defecting to south, during the U.N. hearing in Seoul, South Korea.

A North Korean mother inside one of the country’s notorious prison camps was forced to kill her own baby, a former inmate said, during a U.N. panel hearing in South Korea that’s ongoing this week.

Jee Heon-a, a 34-year-old defector, told the Commission of Inquiry Tuesday in Seoul that a security guard at one camp made the mother turn the baby upside down into a bowl of water.

"The mother begged the guard to spare her, but he kept beating her,” she said, according to Reuters. “So the mother, her hands shaking, put the baby face down in the water. The crying stopped and a bubble rose up as it died. A grandmother who had delivered the baby quietly took it out."

Shin Dong-hyuk, another defector who was born in a prison camp and was punished for dropping a sewing machine, said he was grateful when guards cut off his finger, instead of his entire hand.

North Korea denies any role in violating a person's human rights, and refuses to recognize the U.N. commission. The country has blocked U.N. investigators from entering the country, Reuters reports.

There are believed to be up to 200,000 people being held in prison camps.

The U.N. panel consists of retired Australian judge Michael Kirby, U.N. special rapporteur Marzuki Darusman and human rights activist Sonja Biserko, the BBC reports.

Click for more from Reuters.