The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea or can also be referred to as North Korea has an issue dealing with human rights. Kim Jong-Un became president in 2011 following his fathers death, but this did not change or improve the deplorable conditions of human rights in the nation. The government continued with the set precedence of imposed totalitarian rule, which oppressed the citizens of North Korea. The UNHRC formed a committee to find out more on the issue, following the denial of fundamental human rights and freedoms, to determine if such abuses resulted to humanity crimes and whose responsibility it is.
The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea signed major treaties dealing with human rights. The North Korean constitution has some rights protection reservations regarding the main issue, which is human right. This is only done on paper as a formality but in reality, the government limits all forms of freedom of expression and opinion, as it does not allow political opposition, religious liberty. There are punishments for those who act contrary to the laid down rules by the state, most face detention without trial, arbitrary arrest, torture, and ill-treatment. Collective punishments are forced on anti-state offenses resulting to the enslavement of thousands of its citizens without sparing the children, and these are taken to prisons with poor living conditions topped with unwilling hard labor.
It is noted from the confessions of North Korean refugees living in exile, that prisoners always undergo torture and inhumane treatment from the government officials seeking confessions, obedience, and bribes. Female detainees are also sexually abused. North Koreas criminal code gives permission for executions for specific crimes that are defined by the government. Rectification of the penalty criminal code further exceeds death punishment to other offenses such as fraud and smuggling. This goes against the human right to live.
Political offenders are separated and treated to more cruel punishments in prisons run by the national government. The government in these prisons administers punishment collectively; up to four generations of the offender, get punished not sparing the children and grandchildren. Political prison camps have poor living conditions, which include inadequate housing, lack of proper clothes, and no medical care. Increased rates of deaths are high in the political prisons. On the other hand, North Korea has never accepted the existence of this Kwan-li-so.
The government restricts freedom of information and movement by use of detention threats, public executions to prevent dissent. The government and punishment control all media and publications in North Korea are implemented to those who access illegal non-national radio or television information and announcements. Communication with other nations citizens is profoundly punitive.
North Korean refugees and asylum seekers face a challenge, as it is illegal to leave the country without permission from the official national government. Kin Jong Un upon resuming political power, he released an order to shoot any person in sight trying to cross illegally at the border to China. Despite Chinas obligation to protect refugees, it repatriates North Koreans labeling those illegal economic migrants. Following the harsh repatriation punishment, the international community has urged China to consider fleeing North Koreans as refugees sur place. Despite all its efforts, the UNHCR has always been denied access to North Koreans by Beijing, China. Fleeing women are often trafficked into forced de facto marriages with Chinese men, and they are not entitled to legal residence thus face possible arrest and repatriation. Their children have an issue of legal identification as well as accessibility to a decent knowledge seeking centers and schools.
North Korea does not grant its citizens labor rights; this explains its refusal to be in solidarity with other internationally recognized labor organizations that foster worker rights. Employees denial of the right to associate with fellow employees and the right to reach a bargain as a group. This is strategically organized by the government under the firm control of the only trade union organization in the nation. The working conditions of these workers are way below the set international standards.
North Korea does not put in enough effort to improve the living standards of people; this is openly seen by their lack of cooperation with the principal international actors such as the United Nations. North Korea has ignored any efforts by the UNHRC to revolutionize human rights in the country. Requests for investigation on human rights by a particular reporter under the United Nations have vehemently not been responded to. Establishment of the UN committee investigating human rights issues in North Korea included an increment in the investigation of the nations rights record. Findings through an oral update by the chair of Commission of Inquiry, reveals from a testimony a widespread and grave violation of human rights. North Korea refused to cooperate with the commissioners despite successful visits to other nations such as the USA, and the UK. China too refused to allow some of the committee members into the country for investigations.
The North Korea nuclear testing was also condemned internationally including their closest ally, China. On the other hand, the Japanese government continues to demand the release of some Japanese nationals supposedly abducted a few decades ago.
Can anything be done, in your opinion, to improve North Koreas human rights record?
Yes, to get to the government directly, impose sanctions on the nation this will affect their economy directly then start a dialogue process with international actors. This will give the UN, for example, a platform to air the major concerns about deplorable state of human rights in the country. Closure of political prison camps whereby torture and inhumane treatment is the order of the day will make citizens feel at ease. Allow for freedom of expression as some of the ideas can help develop the nations economy. Do away with execution and death penalties. Openness enables remove doubt in other countries minds meaning North Korea will have nothing to hide on the international platform.
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