In the film Access to Evil, BBC documentarist Ewa Ewart shows the horrifying truth about human rights abuse in North Korea. Ewart was able to find witnesses whose testimonies confirm that biological and chemical weapons are being tested on the prisoners of labor camps.
Why did you make this film?
Whenever there was a question of nuclear conflict between North Korea and the rest of the world, North Koreans have always been spoken for. So I proposed that I would like to give them a chance not to be spoken for but to speak for themselves, in the first person. I think they liked the idea.
But something happened that made you change your plans…
We had a list of wishes that were not fully honored, despite the initial promises – so it was very difficult to carry on with the nuclear subject. More importantly, we started coming across horrendous evidence of human rights abuses that we simply could not ignore and we decided to change the topic of the film.
What was your reaction when it turned out that you would be changing the subject of the film?
I felt a desire to carry out my mission to the end, and to let the world know what is happening. There were concerns on a very practical level – how are we going to finish this film at all, we wondered.
The most dramatic person in your film is the former chief of Camp 22.
This man is the source of the fiercest accusations against the regime. His authenticity was confirmed when he didn‘t try to excuse himself speaking out in freedom. He said, “At that time when I was carrying out the tortures and witnessing the human experimentation, I really believed that these people were the enemies of North Korea and the cause of our problems.” He didn‘t show a trace of remorse. He didn’t say, ever, “I’m terribly sorry for what I have done.” Nevertheless, he ultimately realized that what he had been doing was wrong.
Will the North Korean people ever become able to rebel against the regime, in your opinion?
I don’t think so. They are not going to have the solidarity it takes.
Is there a chance that the issue of human rights abuse in North Korea will at last be met with a reaction from the Western politicians?
Of course there is shock and indignation over the fact that human rights are not on the agenda of any official talks between North Korea and the other countries. We hope that this is going to change eventually.