North Korea Human Rights
Human Rights Concerns
North Koreans sent to prison camps and detention centers are often subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Prisoners are punished if suspected of lying, not working fast enough or forgetting the words of patriotic songs. Forms of punishment include beatings, forced exercise, sitting without moving for prolonged periods of time and humiliation. Due to the combination of forced hard labor, inadequate food, beatings, lack of medical care and unhygienic living conditions, many prisoners fall ill and die in custody or soon after release.
North Koreans sent to prison camps and detention centers are often subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Many prisoners fall ill and die in custody or soon after release.
Tens of thousands of North Koreans, as well as nationals from other countries, have been abducted by the North Korean government.
North Korean family members of suspected dissidents have disappeared or been punished under the principle of "guilt by association."
Millions of people have experienced the worst hunger in a decade with women, children and the elderly being the most vulnerable. Many have been forced to scavenge for wild foods or accept food substitutes. The government has failed to seek adequate international assistance. In March of 2009, North Korea refused to accept any further food aid from the U.S.
Public executions, even for offenses not subject to the death penalty under domestic law. Death offenses include, "treason against the Fatherland," and "treason against the people".
DPRK law requires that its citizens obtain permission to travel both within the country and abroad. Travel to another country without state permission; this can carry the death penalty. Despite this, thousands cross the border into China. Women are trafficked into forced marriages. Those forcibly returned to North Korea face up to three years in a prison camp. China continues to deny the UNHCR access to the North Koreans in their territory.
All media is controlled by the state and dissent is not tolerated. Listening to broadcasts, retaining information or disseminating information can result in two years in a "labor training camp" or five years of "correction labor." Officials from the Ministry of Public Security regularly conduct inspections in private homes to ensure compliance. Freedom of religion is severely restricted.
Rights and freedoms enshrined in the UDHR and the treaties to which North Korea is a state party remain largely unprotected by domestic legislation.
The government continues to deny access to independent human rights monitors.