The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea)

 

‘DPRK Map’, photo courtesy of Wiki Commons

Background

The Korean peninsula was previously occupied by Japan in the first half of the 1900s. Following the end of the Second World War, it was divided into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea) (BBC, 2018). The DPRK is defined as an ‘autarky state’ due to the way in which it has adopted diplomatic and economic self-reliance policies to be free from outside influences (Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 2018). After its emergence, the state invested in the manufacturing of nuclear weaponry, precipitating rapid industrialization and growth under its founder Kim Il Sung. This continued under Kim Jong Il, Kim Il Sung’s son as he was officially designated as his father’s successor in 1980 (CIA, 2018). In 2010, Kim Jong Un was unveiled as his father Kim Jong Il’s successor, assuming power and occupying the regime’s political and military posts from 2011 (CIA, 2018).

Current situation

Crimes against humanity are a regular occurrence in the country. This entails extermination, murder, enslavement, imprisonment, torture of civilians as well as others (OHCHR, 2014). In addition, the state’s focus on heavy industry and nuclear weapons has led to the shortfall of food production, meaning that its citizens are unable to gain access to basic necessities such as food.

In 2018, Kim Jong Un declared that the DPRK nuclear weapons development was complete and that the country would be focusing on contributing more economically to the development of the country, as well as increasing diplomatic engagement. However, the country is still facing a humanitarian crisis (Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), 2014). This is partly due from the fact that the DPRK remains today an isolated state and its industrial stock is now arguably beyond repair due to under investments and shortages (CIA, 2018). The various sanctions which have been established by the United Nations (UN) in a response to the nuclear weapons development programme have also contributed to weakening the economy.

The state is also known for its excessive use of propaganda, with all media under state control (BBC, 2017), which makes it one of the most challenging states for foreign media to cover (BBC, 2018). The propaganda generally shows flattering reports on DPRK leaders. Economic hardships that are faced within the country are not currently reported in the DPRK news outlets (BBC, 2018). However, over the past year, the content displayed in the state’s propaganda has dramatically changed. Rather than portraying anti-US and anti-ROK propaganda, they are now displaying posters that advocate for a specific inter-Korean approach to advancing economic progress and inter-Korean rapprochement. The anti-US propaganda posters have been ‘disappearing’ over the past year, which could possibly suggest a change in the attitudes held by the DPRK government towards the US (BBC, 2018).

Why is this an R2P case?

In 2014, the report produced by the UN General Assembly highlighted that the DPKR authorities were committing various crimes against humanity which “entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation” (OHCHR, 2014). The report stated that these crimes were ongoing in the country because the policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that define the country remained in place (OHCHR, 2014). According to the report, these violations “meet the high threshold required for proof of crimes against humanity in international law” (OHCHR, 2014). Other violations mentioned included the violation of the right to food and related aspects of the right to life, prison camps, abduction and enforced disappearances (OHCHR, 2014).

Some of these human rights violations have been exacerbated by the humanitarian crisis. Humanitarian aid workers who have recently visited the country say that food shortages are likely to be “exacerbated” by the lack of fuel, which could severely impact the state’s ability to transport grain from zones where growing is a surplus to places where there is not enough (NYT, 2018). In early 2019, the DPRK issued an international appeal for help to combat food shortages. It was found that 10.3 million of the state’s population were in need of food, with 40% of these being undernourished (The Guardian, 2019). Deliveries of humanitarian aid have begun, after the UN sanctioned waivers allowing several international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to aid the DPRK (Crisis Group, 2019).

As the consequence of the crimes against humanity and the humanitarian crisis, “hundreds of thousands” have fled to China (CFR, 2018). China treats the refugees as ‘illegal economic migrants’ (HRW, 2017) and, as a result, those that flee into China are not protected by the Chinese government. Beijing constructed a barbed wire fence a decade ago in an attempt to prevent refugees from crossing (CFR, 2018). People who have attempted to flee the country have received brutal punishments: interrogation, torture, sexual violence, humiliating treatment, forced labor, or imprisonment in the “horrific political prison camp system (kwanliso)” (Human Rights Watch, 2018).

How has the international community responded?

The United Nations
As mentioned previously, in 2014, the UN General Assembly produced a damning human rights report, detailing the crimes against humanity that the DPRK have committed. The Commission made a number of recommendations, and urged the United Nations to ensure that those most responsible for these crimes are held accountable. Also, the Commission recommended that citizens should ‘enjoy the right to food and other economic and social rights without discrimination’, the absolute abolition of the death penalty, and allowing the establishment of independent media outlets (OHCHR, 2014).

The UN Security Council has adopted twenty-one resolutions concerning the DPRK but they have mainly been in response to the nuclear weapons program (UNSC, 2016). In March 2016, the UN Security Council however imposed sanctions that responded to some of the human rights violations such as human trafficking (UNSC, 2016). The sanctions that were imposed included targeted economic sanctions and travel restrictions, and were placed upon several high-level North Korean officials, including Kim Jong Un (HRW, 2018).

In 2017, the Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein warned the UN that the tough economic sanctions placed upon the DPRK following their missile tests, risk hurting millions in need of aid. It is reported that these sanctions are ‘complicating the delivery of humanitarian aid’, to an estimated eighteen million North Koreans (Guardian, 2017).

The European Union
The European Union (EU) uses a Critical Engagement policy when dealing with the DPRK. This method involves the use of sanctions – to address the nuclear proliferation – alongside different courses of action to ensure that dialogue remains available between the international organisation and the DPRK. The aim of this position is to see denuclearization and the amelioration of human rights in the region (EEAS, 2018).

Since 1998, there has been regular dialogue conducted between the DPRK and the EU. Additionally, diplomatic relations between the EU and the DPRK have prevailed since May 2001. In terms of human rights abuses, the EU seeks to change the current situation by working in collaboration with the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly (EEAS, 2018).

The International Criminal Court (ICC)
The situation in the DPRK is not currently under investigation by the ICC. In 2014, the ‘Report of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’ (OHCHR, 2014) concluded that “the Security Council should refer the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the International Criminal Court for action in accordance with that court’s jurisdiction” (OHCHR, 2014). Ten months after the report’s publication, a resolution was adopted by the UN General Assembly in line with the report’s recommendations. The resolution committed to submit the report to the Security Council (UNSC), encouraging its members to consider “referral of the situation in the [DPRK] to the International Criminal Court” (UN, 2014). Permanent UNSC members Russia and China vetoed the proposal, preventing the opening of an inquiry (DW, 2014). Observers cite China’s “reservations about international interference in states’ internal affairs” as a key reason for its reluctance to support ICC referral in the past (Diplomat, 2012).

Since 2014, the case for prosecuting the DPRK has resurfaced on several occasions (Guardian, 2017; Reuters, 2017) but proceedings have not been initiated. Observers note that, due to Chinese and Russian vetoes, “[there] remains little chance of a [UNSC] referral to the ICC”, despite rising pressure from the international community (Guardian, 2017).

The United States
US foreign policy towards the DPRK focuses largely on nuclear and security issues, and have been in place since 2008 (US Office of Foreign Assets Control [OFAC], 2016). In an overview of the DPRK sanctions program, the OFAC makes reference to sanctions which can apply to any persons who “have engaged in, facilitated, or been responsible for an abuse or violation of human rights by the Government of North Korea” (OFAC, 2016).

In June 2018 and February 2019, President Trump held diplomatic talks with Kim Jong Un. Trump has previously noted the DPRK’s dire human rights record and, prior to both meetings, was urged by international observers to raise the issue with Kim (Foreign Policy, 2018; HRW, 2019). Despite this international pressure, the final agreement drawn up at the 2018 summit made “no mention anywhere of human rights” (HRW, 2018). US law however stipulates that the human rights situation in the DPRK must be improved if sanctions are to be lifted (HRW, 2019), demonstrating that progress will be limited if human rights are not on the agenda for diplomatic talks.

From 1995 until 2008, the US was a significant provider of emergency aid to the DPRK, contributing over US$1.3 billion in food and energy assistance (Congressional Research Service [CRS], 2014). However, due to the two states’ fragile diplomatic relations, the US “does not currently provide any direct aid” to the DPRK (US Department of State, 2018).

Key declarations by the United Nations

OHCHR. “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities”. 8 December 2017. Accessed 26 Feb 2019.
This report from the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities within the DPRK detailed the intense discrimination that disabled people face. The report detailed that accessibility is limited within the country, and there is harsh discrimination and stigmas surrounding disabled bodied people. The report also notes that persons with disabilities are even restricted from gaining access to education and other social services. The Special Rapporteur recommended that the DPRK should strengthen the ‘capacities of the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled to coordinate disability issues within the State apparatus’.

UNGA. “General Assembly Resolution: Situation of human rights in the DPRK.” 31 October 2016. Accessed 26 Feb 2019.
This was a General Assembly resolution on the human rights situation in the DPRK, adopted by the Third Committee. This resolution expressed serious concern at the persistence of continuing reports of violations of human rights. The resolution urged the DPRK to put an end to these widespread violations and urged them to implement fully the measures set out in previous General Assembly Resolutions.

OHCHR. “Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.” 1 February 2016. Accessed 26 Feb 2019.
This was a report to the Human Rights Council from the OHCHR. Within this report, the High Commissioner detailed a number of human rights violations that are ongoing within the DPRK and made a number of recommendations. Among these, the High Commissioner recommended that the government of the DPRK ‘engage constructively’ with the United Nations system. As well as implementing a strategy, the universal periodic also review recommendations. The High Commissioner also urged the DPRK to dismantle all political prison camps and release all political prisoners.

UNGA. “Draft General Assembly Resolution: Situation of human rights in the DPRK.” 30 October 2015. Accessed 26 Feb 2019.
This draft resolution condemned the long-standing and ongoing gross violations of human rights within the DPRK. The resolution expressed serious concern at the reported prison camps and use of inhumane torture. The resolution called upon the government of the DPRK to ‘engage constructively’ with international forces, in order to promote ‘concrete improvements in the human rights situation’

OHCHR. “Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council 28/22: Situation of human rights in the DPRK.” 8 April 2015. Accessed 26 Feb 2019.
This Human Rights Council resolution requested the establishment of a UN human rights office to work on the human rights situation in the DPRK. The report also encouraged all States that have relations with the DPRK to use their influence to encourage them to take immediate steps to end all human rights violations.

OHCHR. “Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Overview of the DPRK.” 2 July 2014. Accessed 25 Feb 2019.
This report from the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Overview of the DPRK suggested that reform and progress has in fact been made within the country. The Working Group report detailed that the government have made efforts to improve economic construction. This has led to thousands of modern houses and welfare facilities being built. The report also stated that progress had been made in terms of protecting and promoting the rights of children, women, the elderly and persons with disabilities. The Working Group recommended that the DPRK work towards cooperating fully with the UN, and seriously review all recommendations and comments made.

UNGA. “General Assembly Third Committee resolution: Situation of human rights in the DPRK.” 14 November 2014. Accessed 25 Feb 2019.
This was the General Assembly’s Third Committee resolution deciding to submit the report of the Human Rights Council mandated DPRK Commission of Inquiry to the Security Council and encouraged the Council to consider relevant recommendations and take appropriate action, including the referral to the ICC.

OHCHR. “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK.” 13 June 2014. Accessed 25 Feb 2019.
This was the first report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the DPRK to the Human Rights Council, since the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK completed its work in March 2014. The report once again detailed a number of crimes against humanity being committed and suggested that the way forward requires a response from all parties concerned. The Special Rapporteur argued that genuine results were needed in order to ease suffering on the ground.

OHCHR. “Report of the detailed findings of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the DPRK.” 7 February 2014. Accessed 25 Feb 2019.
Within this report from the commission of inquiry on human rights in the DPRK, the commission detailed a number of grave human rights violations occurring within the DPRK. These violations the report entailed included discrimination on the basis of State-assigned social class, gender and disability. Violations of the freedom of movement and residence, including the freedom to leave one’s own country and the prohibition of refoulement. The inquiry also found that crimes against humanity were also being committed. These crimes against humanity were against a number of individuals including those within prison camps, who also attempt to flee the country and who were considered to be introducing subversive influences. The report also discussed whether the DPRK was a case of political genocide.

UNGA. “Resolution adopted by the General Assembly 68/183: Situation of human rights in the DPRK.” 18 December 2013. Accessed 25 Feb 2019.
This was a General Assembly resolution expressing serious concern about the persistence of continuing reports of systematic, widespread and grave violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in the DPRK.

OHCHR. “Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council 22/13: Situation of human rights in the DPRK.” 9 April 2013. Accessed 25 Feb 2019.
This was a Human Rights Council resolution on the DPRK establishing a commission of inquiry for one year. The Council strongly condemned the ongoing human rights violations in the DPRK. Following the last Special Rapporteur report and recommendations, the Council decided to establish a commission of inquiry for a period of one year. This commission will comprise of three members, who will investigate the widespread and grave human rights violations within the DPRK.

OHCHR. “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK.” 1 February 2013. Accessed 25 Feb 2019.
This was another report to the Human Rights Council by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK. Within this report, the Special Rapporteur urged member states to undertake a comprehensive review of all the human rights reports, and to consider setting up a more detailed mechanism of inquiry. The report stated that there is a pattern of violations appearing, with a long history of non-cooperation from the DPRK. The report analyses these patterns of torture, inhumane treatment, prison camps, violations of the right to live, freedom of expression and enforced disappearances.

OHCHR. “Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council 19/13: The situation of human rights in the DPRK.” 3 April 2012. Accessed 25 Feb 2019.
The council expressed its deep concern about the ‘persisting deterioration’ of the human rights situation within the DPRK. The report urged the DPRK to permit the Special Rapporteur unrestricted access to visit the country and to provide him with all necessary information, enabling him to fulfil his mandate. The report also urged the DPRK to ensure ‘full, rapid and unimpeded […] humanitarian assistance that is delivered on the basis of need’.

UNGA. “Resolution adopted by General Assembly 66/174: Situation of human rights in the DPRK.” 29 March 2012. Accessed 25 Feb 2019.
This resolution from the General Assembly condemned the human rights record of the DPRK. The report took into consideration various reports from the Special Rapporteur, and expressed serious concern of the violations of economic, social and cultural rights. The resolution strongly urged the DPRK to put an end to these violations, and decided to continue the examination and investigation into the country.

OHCHR. “Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council 13/14: Situation of human rights in the DPRK.” 15 April 2010. Accessed 25 Feb 2019.
This was a Human Rights Council resolution expressing concern at ongoing grave, widespread and systematic human rights violations in the DPRK. It also extended the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in DPRK for a period of one year.

OHCHR. “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK.” 24 February 2009. Accessed 25 Feb 2019.
This was the report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the DPRK. The report detailed that these human rights violations are ‘egregious’ and ‘require urgent attention at all levels’. The report suggested that food and basic necessities, freedom and personal security are all at risk in the DPRK. As for solutions, the report suggested that the DPRK should seek to ‘modernize its national system by instituting reforms to ensure greater participation of the people’. The report also suggested that the DPRK should; end the punishment of those who seek asylum abroad and who are sent back to their country; terminate public executions and abuses against the security of the person, and other violations of fundamental rights and freedoms; cooperate effectively to resolve the issue of foreigners abducted by the country; and respond constructively to the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur.

OHCHR. “Human Rights Council Resolution 7/15: Situation of human rights in the DPRK” 27 March 2008. Accessed 25 Feb 2019.
The following Human Rights Council Resolution condemned the DPRK’s human rights violations. The resolution detailed that the council was ‘deeply concerned’ at the ‘continuing reports of systematic, widespread and grave violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights’. The council was alarmed at the ‘precarious humanitarian situation’ within the DPRK. The resolution urged the DPRK to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur, as it it extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.

UNGA. “Note by the Secretary-General : Situation of human rights in the DPRK” 15 September 2006. Accessed 25 Feb 2019.
This report from the Secretary-General addressed the situation of human rights in the DPRK. The report mainly expressed concerns regarding the shortage of food within the country. It mentioned that authorities were no longer permitting various markets to operate, for fear that they were losing their grip on the economy. The report also states that authorities no longer wished to accept food aid from outside the country, and wished to ‘end the presence of foreign humanitarian agencies.’

Key declarations by the European Union

European Parliament. “Mission Report following the 5th EU-DPRK Inter-Parliamentary Meeting (IPM), 28 October- 3 November, Beijing/Pyongyang”. 15 November 2018. Accessed 24 February 2019.
The aim of the IPM was to engage in the 5th meeting between Members of the Supreme People’s Assembly and Members of the European Parliament to obtain first-hand knowledge about the current situation in the closed off regime and to gather a greater understanding of the role of EU political cooperation in the DPRK. In regard to human rights, the delegation was not able to discuss this area of concern, except with the EUMS diplomats. While most of the discussion focuses on civil and political rights such as there being no opposition or any kind of civil society, a Responsibility to Protect element was introduced. The report reveals that there is restricted and little knowledge on the existing mass detention camps. Thus, it is concluded that at present no ‘human rights dialogue’ seems possible with the DPRK.

European External Action Service. “EU-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) relations”. 31 July 2018. Accessed 24 February 2019.
The above document reveals that the EU has been at the forefront of improving the human rights situation, by working closely with the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly. It declares that 26 Member States have diplomatic relations with the DPRK. The rest of the paperwork expands on the different roles the EU has within the peninsula. However, for the purpose of the Responsibility to Protect, the document fails to expand on how they help to improve the human rights situation.

European External Action Service. “DPRK and the EU”. 26 June 2016. Accessed 25 February 2019.
The following document declares the European Union’s policy of critical engagement towards the DPRK. One of their main objectives for this policy is to improve the human rights situation that is ongoing in the peninsula. It goes on to discuss both the political relations with the DPRK and their economic and trade relations. Regarding the Responsibility to Protect, this is relevant as it reveals that the European Community has been involved with diplomatic relations with the DPRK since May 2001. This is significant as it has meant that the EU has been able to vocalize against the ongoing human rights abuses.

European External Action Service. “EU-DPRK Political Dialogue – 14th Session”. 25 June 2015. Accessed 25 February 2019.
During the time scale of the 19-24 June 2015, the Director for North East Asia and the Pacific in the European External Action Service, Mr Gerhard Sabathil, engaged in dialogue with authorities from the DPRK. This was the 14th session to have taken place since 1998. Topics of discussion gravitated towards respect for human rights, alongside non-proliferation and socio-economic issues. The DPRK were encouraged to participate with the international community, regarding areas of concern. Additionally, the EU proclaimed that it is within their interest to evolve bilateral relations, if advancements are made regarding nuclear disarmament and the end of human rights abuses.

United Kingdom

Gov.UK. “Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon has given the interim statement on the human rights situation in 2018 in the FCO’s 30 human rights priority countries”. 7 December 2018. Accessed 3 March 2019
The following corporate report provides an insight into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office top 30 human rights priority countries, whereby the UK believes these states embody the biggest concern regarding human rights. The contents of the report offer an insight into abuses such as: modern slavery, freedom of religion/belief, civil society, gender equality, girls education, LGBT rights and the death penalty. However, regarding the DPRK, it was found that the state ranked top in the 2018 Global Slavery Index, as the totalitarian regime permits long hours of its citizens for labour, in return for little or no payment.

Gov.UK. “Statement by Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, UK Permanent Representatives to the UN, at the Security Council meeting on human rights in the DPRK”. 11 December 2017. Accessed 3 March 2019
The speech reveals how the treatment the DPRK commits against its own citizens reveals their undismayed flouting of international rules and norms. Thus, the speech shows that the UK was in agreement and support of the Security Council’s wish to bring attention to the appalling living conditions. Additionally, they urge other member states not to “return defectors back to the miserable situation”. The speech also calls out the crimes against humanity that expand beyond their citizens and borders, as with the death of US national Otto Warmbier; 17 Japanese citizens who have been kidnapped by the regime and the assassination of Kim Jong Nam. Lastly, the UK’s position becomes evident which is to allow human rights actors such as NGOs, immediate access to investigate the true extent of the situation.

Gov.UK. “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – Human Rights Priority Country”. 8 February 2017. Accessed 3 March 2019
The following corporate report, displayed the DPRK unwillingness to accept both findings and recommendations of the UN Commission of Inquiry report, and to protest against resolutions passed by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and UN Security Council (UNSC). In 2015, human rights was one the UK’s policy priorities concerning the DPRK. The report outlines how the UK has brought attention to the DPRK’s crimes against humanity through different UN agencies such as the UN General Assembly, the UNSC and the HRC. The UK government engaged in lobbying, which helped to secure robust resolutions. Senior officials from the foreign and commonwealth office met with diplomats from the DPRK Embassy in 2015. Within these meetings, it offered the opportunity for the UK to bring up their concerns regarding their responsibility to protect.

Gov.UK. “UK responds to UN report on Human Rights in DPRK”. 18 February 2014. Accessed 3 March 2019
The Foreign Office Minister, Hugo Swire, acknowledges the UN Commission spotlight on human rights in DPRK and “calls for end to impunity for violators”. The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK brought out a report on 17 February regarding the crimes against humanity in the peninsula. Swire declared that the guidance put out on the report will be carefully studied. Yet, due to the scale of the crimes against humanity that are happening, the international community needs to act. Thus, the British government expresses their collaboration with the partners at the UNHRC to show that the DPRK cannot continue with the human rights violations.

Key NGO reports

Human Rights Watch. “North Korea: Events of 2018”. 2019. Accessed 22 February 2019.
Human Rights Watch annual report detailing key developments in the DPRK. The report includes an analysis of the DPRK’s stance on international human rights mechanisms, the repression of women and “other at-risk groups”, the use of forced labour, the effects of ever-stricter border controls, and the role of key actors such as the US, China, and neighbouring South Korea in addressing (or failing to address) the DPRK’s human rights abuses.

Amnesty International. “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Gestures are not enough – Amnesty International submission for the UN Universal Periodic Review, 33rd session of the UPR working group, May 2019”. 25 January 2019. Accessed 22 February 2019.
A report submitted for the UPR of the human rights situation in the DPRK. The report reflects on recent progress made in response to previous recommendations to the state, whilst raising “concern about the right to access information, the treatment of prisoners and other detainees, the freedom of [DPRK] citizens to travel abroad, and the death penalty”.

Amnesty International. “North Korea 2017/2018”. 2018. Accessed 22 February 2019.
Amnesty International’s annual report on the state of human rights worldwide. This section on the DPRK details cases of arbitrary detention, vulnerability of migrant workers, limits to freedom of movement and freedom of expression, as well as assessing progress made in 2017/18 by international cooperation.

Human Rights Watch. “You cry at night but don’t know why: Sexual violence against women in North Korea”. November 1 2018. Accessed 22 February 2019.
In-depth report based upon testimonies of North Korean women, revealing the extent to which sexual assault and violence is used as a form of control.

Amnesty International. “North Korea: Amnesty International’s submission to the United Nations committee on the rights of the child”. 15 August 2017. Accessed 22 February 2019.
This report “focuses in particular on the failure of the DPRK to uphold human rights of children as a result of its heavy restrictions on citizens’ freedom to seek, receive and impart information freely regardless of national frontiers”.

Amnesty International. “North Korea: Amnesty International’s written statement to the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council (3 – 28 March 2014)”. 3 March 2014. Accessed 22 February 2019.
Amnesty “welcomes the report of the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, and encourages UN member states to take decisive action to end the crimes reported by the Commission. This statement makes recommendations to the Human Rights Council and the DPRK, urging both parties to cooperate and place human rights “at the forefront of the agenda.”

Amnesty International. “North Korea: Political Prison Camps”. 3 May 2011. Accessed 22 February 2019.
Detailed information on the conditions of the DPRK’s prison camps. Amnesty’s investigative findings include evidence of public executions, malnutrition, torture, and forced labour (including child labour).

Human Rights Watch. “North Korea: Harsher policies against border-crossers”. 5 March 2007. Accessed 22 February 2019.
A report providing an update on the reasons for and implications of the DPRK’s increasingly harsh “policy towards its citizens it catches crossing the border into China without state permission, or whom China has forcibly repatriated”. The report details the DPRK’s stance on border-crossing, and outlines the punishments faced by those who attempt to flee to China and South Korea.

Amnesty International. “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Persecuting the Starving: The Plight of North Koreans Fleeing to China”. 15 December 2000. Accessed 22 February 2019.
“This report describes how North Koreans have, despite their government criminalizing the act of leaving without permission, fled the country as a result of food shortages. The vast majority of those who leave without permission go to China where they face human rights violations and an uncertain future.”

Amnesty International. “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea): Human rights violations behind closed doors”. 20 December 1995. Accessed 22 February 2019.
An extensive, in-depth report documenting reported human rights violations in the DPRK. Political background information is followed by an overview of how the state has responded to previous reports and recommendations by Amnesty International. Individual case studies provide an insight into living conditions in the country. In addition, the report makes recommendations “to the North Korean authorities including the undertaking to treat the issue of human rights with openness and as a matter of international responsibility and accountability.”