Human Rights Watch Report 2018: North Korea

A mother and daughter pay respects to leaders A mother and daughter pay respects to leaders © Damir Sagolj/Reuters, 46/60 Slides

January 2018
According to the North Korea chapter of HRW’s annual World Report 2018, North Korea remains one of the most repressive states in the world.

The report notes that in in his sixth year in power, President Kim Jong-un has continued to impose punitive measures against citizens, while attracting world attention through aggressive weapons testing. During 2017, North Korea, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired 23 missiles during 16 tests and conducted its sixth nuclear test, deepening the tensions between vocal critic the United States and its allies, and the DPRK. The report reveals that throughout 2017 the North Korean government tightened travel restrictions, hunted down fleeing refugees, punished those who attempted to get in contact with the outside world and continued to deny human rights violations.

In its 28th edition, the 2018 report states  that throughout 2017 the DPRK  refused to cooperate with the United Nations Seoul field office and with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, Tomás Ojea Quintana. The government also continually denied the findings of the UN Commission of Inquiry report on human rights in the DPRK, which stated that systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations, including a disturbing array of crimes against humanity, have been committed in the country. The DPRK did however  engage with two UN human rights treaty bodies, the Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and invited the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, who visited in May.

The report notes that the DPRK government continues to restrict all fundamental civil and political liberties of its citizens, including freedom of expression, association, movement, and religion. It prohibits any organized political opposition, free, independent media, and civil society organizations. Fear and control are maintained through a lack of independent judiciary, arbitrary arrest, and punishment of crimes as well as through a practice of torture in custody, forced labor, and executions.


Read the full report here:

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