North Korea: Extreme Human Rights Abuses



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North Korea:

Extreme Human Rights Abuses

Angela Rho

December 5, 2003

Ethics of Development in a Global Environment

Professor Lusignan


When topics of conversation or concern come up lately regarding North Korea, the public’s concern lies within the same major area; the threat of North Korean missiles and nuclear weapons. Granted that this is currently a major concern when threats of terrorism are high and very legitimate, especially with the concern over the lack of stability of East Asia at the moment. Many nations around the world view the current government and policies in North Korea as a danger to Asian regional stability and world peace. We must however remember the deeper issues surrounding North Korea. The lack of human rights within the country has been a significant issue for many years, and without granting their citizens basic human rights, we cannot expect North Korea to change their policies on nuclear weaponry. Unfortunately, the main goal of nations dealing with the North Korean regime--the United States, Russia, China, South Korea, and Japan-- revolves around curbing and monitoring North Korea’s nuclear advancements. It is true that these countries give monetary aid and provisions, but this has not ensured or improved human rights situations within the country. We, as an international community, must find a way to give North Korean citizens their basic human rights, as failure to do so will surely lead to worldwide instability and decline in human rights principles and standards.

It is true that the outside, democratic world has little information in regards to North Korea, its government, or its inner workings, as the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has continually refused to grant access to independent human rights organizations. According to reports issued from a variety of the world’s leading human rights organizations, many of the worst violations of human rights in the world are being committed by the North Korean government. Of these offences are the abuse of refugees and workers, abuse of political prisoners in prisoner camps, and public executions. Most importantly, North Korean citizens are continuously being deprived of basic human rights that we take for granted, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought, and even freedom of residence. To this day in North Korea, there are no laws or regulations protecting the basic human rights of its citizens. Although regime officials claim that the constitution of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea provides for the rights, protection, and liberties of its people, the understood reality is that Kim Jong Il’s regime has a history of ignoring and overriding the Constitution’s articles regarding human rights.

The regime set in place by Kim Il Sung and maintained after his death by his son, Kim Jong Il, retains its tight control over the people by harshly restricting their individual rights. The North Korean people are generally classified in three specific groups; the ‘core’, the ‘unstable’, and the ‘hostile’. The heart/core constitutes 28% of the population, the unstable makes up 45%, and the hostile/antagonistic group is 27% of the population (dons.usfca.edu, par. 2). These three classes are divided further into fifty-one subclasses according to their loyalty to the Korean Workers Party (KWP). Sadly enough, under this current system, the class with which a citizen identifies determines his treatment in regards to his access to food, medical treatment, employment, education, and even entrance to certain stores and businesses (dons.usfca.edu, par. 2). Obviously enough, the hostile group is the most monitored and watched of all North Korean citizens by the KWP. Oddly though, Constitution Articles 64, 65, 72, and 73 provide for equal protection, equal rights to public facilities, equal rights to free medical care, and equal right to all education, respectively. But, as a result of the division of the people into three classes-- core, unstable, and hostile--equality is ignored, with the citizens most loyal to the regime being granted better employment, education, and medical care. Thus, emphasizing the fact that these constitution articles were mere made up to fill paper and serve as proof of equality and human rights to international democratic societies.

Although this ‘constitution’ guarantees a fair, public trial with the right to a defense, it is more accurate to understand that the government assigns lawyers to the accused, and these lawyers are not employed to defend the accused, but to convince them to confess guilt (jurist.law.pitt.edu, par. 1). Furthermore, political criminals do not even receive trials, let alone lawyers (nknet.org, par. 4). Constitution Article 67 guarantees the freedom of speech, press, assembly, demonstration, and association (jurist.law.pitt.edu, par 2). Essentially though, there is no freedom of speech, and no freedom of expression, unless the expression is in favor of Kim Jong Il’s regime. The government watches all citizens and punishes them accordingly if they utter a word of criticism. As for media influence, radios in North Korea can only tune into North Korean stations approved by the government (nknet.org, par.8). All media and artistic work such as books, films, and television, serve only as propaganda in favor of the regime. Surprisingly, CNN is broadcast in some foreign hotels where American businessmen stay during their visits to North Korea.

Another irony in the DPRK constitution is the right of citizens to form their own political party, whereas in reality, the only party to join is the Korean Workers Party. To add to this irony, citizens cannot attempt to form their own parties because all new parties must be approved by the government (usembassy.it, par.12), which will inevitably be rejected. The government also prohibits freedom of assembly by mandating that all public meetings be government-authorized (web.amnesty.org, par. 18). Equally as harsh and unfair is Article 69, which allows citizens to submit petitions regarding government issues, yet upon submission, the Ministries of State Security and Public Safety attempt to identify the individual through handwriting analysis so that they may find the individual to punish them accordingly for any criticisms or complaints (dons.usfca.edu, par. 2). Needless to say, there is no point for citizens to take the initiative to form political parties, or to complain by submitting petitions, as they are essentially sabotaging themselves.

As for privacy in your own home, the DPRK constitution states under Article 79 that they provide for “inviolability of the person and the home and privacy or correspondence. No citizens can be placed under control or be arrested nor can their homes be searched without a legal warrant” (jurist.law.pitt.edu, par. 5). Nonetheless, the government has tight control over the people by using an elaborate, multilevel system of informers to identify critics of the regime. Furthermore, whole communities and villages are subject to random security checks, and oftentimes, the government places bugs in the houses of citizens to monitor their speech and loyalty (nknet.org, par. 4), emphasizing the DPRK’s paranoia of insurgents within the community. The regime’s level of control is strikingly apparent by its monthly checks of homes to ensure that every family has a prominent display of portraits of both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in their home, with inspectors checking to make sure the pictures are clean and well kept. To democratic societies throughout the world, such checks and requirements are incomprehensible, but in North Korea, such things are merely another rule to live by.

Just like many other oppressive nations throughout time, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea persecutes its citizens on basis of their religion. Reports continue to be received that people attempting to practice their own religion--especially Christians--were severely deterred by government authorities. According to the Director General of the External Relations Department of the EU, North Korea’s response to his inquiries on the reported persecution of Christians were “inconclusive” and “tentative” (web.amnesty.org, par. 11), signaling a lack of remorse and understanding of the immoralities of religious persecution. Various democratic nations also fear that several thousand Christians are being held in labor camps where they face torture, starvation, and death, creating great concern and alarm (web.amnesty.org, par. 10).

It is obvious that the DPRK is frightened of having any sort of political opposition within the regime and as a result, feels compelled to curb and punish those people who they view as politically dangerous or troublesome. The most convenient yet atrocious way they deal with these troublesome people is by placing them in prisoner camps similar to Nazi concentration camps, along with persecuted Christians. The regime denies the existence of these prisoner camps, instead referring to them as “education centers” for those citizens who “commit crimes by mistake” (dons.usfca.edu, par. 8). It has been reported by defectors that inmates in these camps work an average of seventeen hours a day, and are subject to severe beatings, starvation, disease, torture, and public executions (nknet.org, par. 16). For example, some inmates have been forced to wear shackles, metal collars, and leg irons, making it impossible for them to run. Even worse, it has also been revealed that inmates are often tortured by having water pumped into their stomachs with a tube, and upon reaching capacity, guards would place boards on the prisoner’s stomach and jump on it, pumping the water back out of the tube (csmonitor.com, par. 7). Prison guards and torturers are also trained to “see the prisoners as sub-human…with virtually no limit to the punishments they can inflict” (worldnetdaily.com, par. 12). Defectors also claim that chemical and biological warfare experiments are conducted on them within these prison camps (web.amnesty.org, par. 17). David Hawk, a researcher for the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea estimates there to be at least six prison camps in North Korea, with a single prison camp can be twenty to thirty miles long and ten to fifteen miles wide; each camp housing twenty to forty thousand prisoners who live in smaller villages (usembassy.it, par. 5). To add to these atrocities, “there were no sanitation facilities and no showers, and your body became full of insects…there were tens of thousands of lice all over my body” (worldnetdaily.com, par. 5). Most political prisoners in these camps are imprisoned for life; however, most die from starvation and overworking in mines, logging camps, and agricultural operations (usembassay.it, par. 5). Thus, it would be more accurate to claim that these prisons are more like death camps as opposed to jails. In the words of a former guard who had defected to South Korea, inmates “looked like beasts…all had a deformity--limping, bent shoulders. They had sunken eyes, like a skull; unfocused, fearful” (worldnetdaily.com, par. 11). These prisons have broken the spirits of these people, no longer allowing them to be human or to live as a human being would. Their souls and spirits have been extinguished, causing them to be breathing corpses, almost a crueler form of punishment than death itself.

Along with these atrocious prison camps, the DPRK has been accused of performing many public executions. These executions are often widely publicized, via posters and radio announcements, and usually have the name and birth date of the criminal, his occupation, college, crime committed, along with date, time, and place of execution (dons.usfca.edu, par. 14). Most executions take the forms of hanging or shooting, and many defectors claim that prisoners are dragged to the place of execution and show signs of being beaten and/or drugged prior to the execution (usembassy.it, par. 21), shattering any notions or ideals of fair justice.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking violation of human rights by the North Korean regime is that it has used famine as a weapon against its own people. In his article titled “Famine Crimes in International Law,” David Marcus defines famine as “human rights disasters” often arising out of a number of rights violations “committed by murderous governments bent on manipulating hunger to further their own purposes” (248). Marcus goes further to accuse the DPRK of two degrees of famine crimes, specifically:

--An individual commits a first-degree famine crime by knowingly creating, inflicting, or prolonging conditions that result in or contribute to the starvation of a significant number of people.


--An individual commits a second-degree famine crime by recklessly ignoring evidence that the policies for which he or she bears responsibility for creating, inflicting, or prolonging are leading to the starvation of a significant number of people (262).
North Korea is blatantly in violation of both the above, especially as being accused of murdering approximately three million of its own people in the process (ned.org, par.6).

Also in the case of North Korea, the food ration per person is decided in accordance with his or her social standing and job, distinctions we took a look at above. Each ordinary citizen is to receive seven hundred grams of grain per day according to the official standard, but due to poor economic conditions, the DPRK has suspended the grain ration since 1995 (Marcus). However, most members amongst the elite group still enjoy sufficient food, again highlighting the inequality of North Korean citizens. As a result of this lack, most North Koreans are compelled to search for food in underground or black markets: yet another trap for citizens to get in trouble with the government, often leading to imprisonment, torture, or public humiliation (web.amnesty.org, par. 4). According to Andrew Natsios, administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United States remains the DPRK’s most generous donor of food assistance, total contributions reaching two million tons of food approximated at six hundred million dollars since 1995.

Starvation is among the main reasons for a recent rise in the number of defectors from North Korea to China, with numbers reaching some three hundred thousand citizens, according to Natsios. Unfortunately, the number of North Koreans forcibly repatriated by the Chinese authorities has also increased drastically over the past few years. Chinese police were said to have increased checks on people’s homes and to have offered rewards of up to two thousand Yuan--approximately two hundred fifty dollars--to Chinese citizens who gave information about North Korean refugees (webamnesty.org, par. 10). The main concern with the repatriation of these refugees is the legitimate fear and concern that they will be imprisoned, tortured, and starved upon their return to North Korea. One cruel story has been documented titled “Cannibalism in North Korea Prisons?” a result of starving conditions within prisons. Describing horrendous conditions that led to cannibalism, two former prisoners depicted a picture of a prison camp at a meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights (worldnetdaily.com, par. 2). A prisoner of ten years, Kang Chul Hwan explained that he was imprisoned at age nine along with several family members because of the alleged political crimes of his grandfather. In order to survived, he “ate rats, cockroaches and snakes.” There have even been situations where “a woman who had just given birth was so hungry that she ate her own newborn baby” and that “brothers ate their own brother in order to survive” (worldnetdaily.com, par. 3).

On top of this fear, especially cruel treatment awaits many returnees who are deemed to have been in contact with South Koreans and missionaries, such as long term imprisonment or execution. A number of eyewitness accounts report that women who are found to be pregnant by Chinese men are subject to forced abortion where this is possible, or, where the pregnancy is more advanced, are kept in detention until they give birth, when their baby is then smothered to death in front of them (Choi). In the case of one man who Russian authorities had saved from North Korean authorities who had captured him in an escape attempt, he was reported to have been beaten “beyond recognition” (Choi). Another refugee who had managed to escape several times finally “had an iron needle put through his nose with a rope attached to it so that he could not escape” (dons.usfca.edu, par. 14). Thus, in order for North Korean citizens to be treated humanely while receiving their basic human rights, other nations need to offer more than just their monetary support. In this particular instance, China needs to offer protection for these refugees who are clearly fleeing from unimaginably inhumane situations of torture, starvation, and a violation of basic rights.

Despite being a member of the United Nations, North Korea declared in 1997 that it had withdrawn from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a United Nations sub-commission which encouraged the North Korean government to continue to assume its international human rights obligations (usembassy.it, par.21). Regardless of this declaration, the North Korean regime announced in 1999 that it would present its second periodic report on its implementation of the ICCPR to the UN Human Rights Committee, though no findings are conclusive. Other nations have been making an effort with North Korea, as seen in 1999 talks between the regime and the European Union where emphasis was placed on discussions of food assistance, human rights and the missile program of the country (jurist.law.pitt.edu, par. 10). Former U.S. Defense Secretary and Stanford Professor, William Perry, has even visited the country in an effort to lift further sanctions by the United States in exchange for stricter restrictions on the regime’s nuclear program (usembassy.it, par. 22). Japan too has gotten involved by calling for a normalization of relations between the two countries. Japan proceeded to lift some sanctions and resettled civilian links by lifting a ban on charter flights into North Korea (ned.org, par. 11). Despite these political advancements, much more needs to be done in regards to the actual problems and violations of human rights.

Understandably, it is extremely difficult to accurately assess the violations and to monitor the changes in the regime, but again, it is up to other democratic nations to do so. Whether food be exchanged for proof of better living conditions and greatly improved human rights, some steps need to be taken in order for situations to look up. Unfortunately, too much emphasis is placed on North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, when the emphasis should be on human rights. It is difficult to discuss these issues in a civilized manner with a country that is not refined or considerate enough to feed its people and offer them their basic freedoms. However, in its conclusions to the second periodic report submitted by North Korea in July, the UN Human Rights Committee made a number of recommendations, including that the government take appropriate measures to “ensure that constitutional and legislative provisions are amended to ensure the impartiality and independence of the judiciary” (web.amnesty.org, par.27). The committee also suggested that amendments be made to pertinent portions of the criminal code, especially concerning offences where the death penalty may be applied, further stating that executions be suspended while the government takes steps to abolish the death penalty. Furthermore, the regime has been ordered to grant regular access to international human rights organizations so that every prison, every case of torture and ill-treatment can be investigated by an independent body (nknet.org, par. 18). The UN Human Rights Committee further requested that DPRK authorities take practical measures “to guarantee freedom of exercise of religion by the community,” (web.amnesty.org, par. 25) in response to the regimes persecution of Christian citizens.

At a recent conference, Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy optimistically looked forward and compared the North Korean situation to Prague’s Velvet Revolution of 1989 that “swept the democratic dissidents into power and signaled the end of the Cold War” (ned.org, par. 3). By comparing North Korea to Central Europe during the Cold War, Gershman had hoped to bring faith and optimism to a repressed communist nation. He acknowledged the difference of situation between North Korea and the former Soviet Bloc, but not before he emphasized the many things that could be learned from the “struggle against communism in Central Europe and the Soviet Union.” He insinuated that past western democracies were solely concerned with avoiding a “hot war and advancing security through deterrence and disarmament” while the Soviet regime was preoccupied with consolidating its power over its own territories and population (ned.org, par.8); highlighting the very different agendas between the two. In making this comparison, Gershman states that North Korea is doing something similar by engaging in nuclear brinkmanship with the United States in an effort to force negotiations regarding security that they hope will lead to an international agreement guaranteeing “the survival of its regime” (ned.org, par. 10). Unfortunately, the DPRK knows that support will be there for them when in need, and the easiest means of obtaining outside help is by entering into nuclear brinkmanship. As for the motivations behind these North Korean threats, the regime basically wants to have their cake and eat it too. For the government wants food, fuel, security, and diplomatic recognition, drawing a conclusion that North Korea does not necessarily want to trade in their proliferation threat for benefits. The Kim Jong Il regime wants food, fuel, security, and nuclear capability, therefore using nuclear brinkmanship on multiple levels. As with any nuclear threats, however, the situation cannot be taken lightly or merely be rejected as a ploy, resulting in the United States and other countries such as Japan and South Korea to appease the regime. In the future, though, these countries should offer their help under the agreement that North Korea should in turn offer full human rights provisions, essentially killing two birds with one stone. Realistically speaking, it is irrational for the United States to demand North Korea to stop building up their missile and nuclear power before expecting them to treat their own people with humanity. In other words, it is impossible to negotiate with people who are so cruel and uncivilized.

Gershman goes on to offer a solution to the North Korean situation, one that is similar to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, which states that all communist states “agree to respect a comprehensive set of human rights principles, including freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief; promote the reunification of families; and improve the circulation of information and the working conditions” (ned.org, par. 9). Hopefully something equivalent to this act will one day be implemented in North Korea, insisting that the regime “cease criminalizing the act of [refugees] leaving, and that China cease forcibly repatriating refugees in violation of its obligations under international treaties” (ned.org, par. 9).

For an additional opinion of potential possibilities along with Gershman, Professor Heong-Soon Park of Sunmoon University in South Korea, changes/improvement in human rights conditions in North Korea would “require collaborative efforts among governments and NGO’s at home and abroad” (hrnk.org, par. 2). Park’s opinion is that among others, the South Korean government should take the international lead/initiative by implementing a more aggressive position on the issue of North Korean human rights. He goes on to adamantly state that on top of South Korea’s lead, the NGO’s in the fields of human rights should and can take their own initiatives by “using international networks as well as their own resources and expertise” (hrnk.org, par. 4). Professor Park feels that most important of all is the NGO’s concern should hopefully persuade the Korean government on their respective governments to take a more positive approach to the situation, with the NGO’s playing an active role in the collection and distribution of information to international campaigns. It is true to view the NGO’s as having certain advantages over governments, at least in areas of North Korean human rights concerns. Their efforts would increase the concern of important international civil societies, making a huge difference in improving the human rights situation in North Korea.

Perhaps an aggressive approach to the North Korean human rights issues, as suggested by Professor Park, is truly the best way to deal with Kim Jong Il’s DPRK. By magnifying these human rights issues as a main concern in international society, we must continue to get more support and concentrated, resolute efforts by many countries, along with a larger network of NGO’s. The internalization of North Korean human rights issues is necessary in highlighting the gravity and urgency of the issue, as there is sure to be no disagreement that the North Korean people have the right to be protected from the oppression of the North Korean regime, considered the most closed and isolated country in the world. Additionally according to Park, the “the internalization through cooperation at private as well as governmental levels will increase the possibility of improvement of the North Korean human rights situation” (hrnk.org, sec. 4). With discussions of North Korean human rights taking place on an international level, the issue will naturally attract more interest and support from the international society, hopefully persuading North Korea to improve its attitude on the rights of its citizens. The ultimate goal is for the NGO’s and governments of democratic nations to show their concern on the matter by taking more positive policy on the issue and heightening awareness of the cause amongst the public.

Furthermore, the increase in international awareness of these human rights issues will also facilitate the interests and support of the Korean people--both in South Korea, and throughout the world--and the Korean government on the issue. Unfortunately, many Koreans throughout the world are oblivious to or unconcerned by these human rights violations of their countrymen. Hopefully international coverage on the situation, public opinion, new policies and statements issued by other governments, NGO’s, and media attention will help emphasize the critical importance of North Korea’s violations against its own citizens. This issue has been largely marginalized within South Korea (nknet.org, par. 19), yet with constant discussion on the international level, the hope is that it will have a “positive impact upon the Korean public opinion and government policy on North Korea for more positive changes.” Park feels that under these circumstances, the NGO’s, along with the cooperation of international governments and organizations such as the United Nations, should be able to develop policies and strategies for the improvement of North Korean human rights.

One of the main and most important suggestions that Park gives to improving North Korean human rights is the essential cooperation of the South Korean government concerning the issue. He highlights how crucial it is for the Korean government to take more active policy on the matter, and suggests that NGO’s make an effort to persuade the democratic government to take the initiative in dealing with the issues. One potential approach he suggests South Korea to take is to place North Korean human rights issues as the main agenda in its foreign policy, perhaps even implementing the issue to play a role “overtly or implicitly” under their Sunshine policy. Another potential means of improvement is a bit more roundabout, but could prove promising as well. There is the argument that these issues could be resolved by encouraging changes in the North Korean regime itself, or better yet, by pushing the processes for the reunification of the divided Koreas (Choi). So, according to this argument, it would be important to initiate and encourage both Koreas to open up and welcome negotiations. However, it is important to keep in mind the volatility of the DPRK regime, and thus would be helpful to take on the human rights issues at a safe time and manner, in an attempt not to provoke the regime before improvements are made in human rights. Therefore, it would be legitimate to say that these human rights concerns may become the tying bond in reunification talks--with the negative potential of these issues taking a back seat to reunification goals--and adversely taking away from the main objective of the improvement of human rights. Nonetheless, these aforementioned strategies are a solid basis for putting political and diplomatic pressure on the DPRK, hopefully leading one day to the improvement of North Korean human rights. One guarantee from the initiative taken by South Korea is that it will inevitably attract more attention and support from the international society.

As with all things though, incentives and rewards always offer motivation while helping to expedite the process. So, perhaps a set of incentives should be set in an attempt to persuade and encourage the DPRK to improve their human rights standards. The obvious incentive would be for various governments, beginning with South Korea, to offer political and economic perks, granted that North Korea show a real attempt to change their human rights policies. Another incentive brought up by Professor Park is one he has called “quiet diplomacy” where governments, along with NGO’s would aim to reach agreements with Kim Jong Il’s regime secretly, with the objective of “improving the North Korean human rights issues while allowing North Korea to save its face,” since these issues are considered an embarrassing and vulnerable issue, necessary of concealment. Park has drawn this argument from a past historical instance where “West Germany made a secret deal with East Germany on the release of East German political prisoners before the reunification.” On the other hand, using quiet diplomacy may be impractical and ineffective in dealing with North Korea as there is less an emphasis in bringing international support into negotiations. Perhaps a balanced approach somewhere between open and quiet diplomacy should be attempted, with the help of NGO’s to ensure improvement.

Another possibility shared by Park and Hwang (nknet.org, par. 22) has been coined the “big deal,” highlighting North Korea’s human rights abuses as the countries biggest burden and mistake when trying to reconcile with international democratic societies. Understanding this is crucial, for that would give South Korea the opportunity to “forgive the past wrongdoing of the North Korean regime, and provide various benefits in exchange for North Korea’s new commitment” (hrnk.org, sec. 5) to improved human rights. This innovative policy would be a great way for the DPRK to be forgiven, and being a win-win situation for all involved. Again, however, the “big deal” policy requires the unpredictable regime to keep its word; something it has already lost its credibility for.

Perhaps the most effective means of achieving our goal of improved human rights in North Korea would be by pressuring North Korea into making changes by using political, diplomatic, and economic means as leverage on them; similar to what democratic nations have begun to do with provisions and monetary aid. All countries could utilize various means by withholding economic exchanges, trade, and assistance to North Korea, according to their behavior. Sadly, this sounds similar to a parent punishing and negotiating with a young child, but that is what the DPRK has become internationally. Pressures and sanction can be used against North Korea if they do not make concessions on human rights issues. Park also makes another good point in regards to the starvation of North Korean citizens, suggesting that “the Korean government can make it a rule to use a portion of government budget to assist the activities and programs related to the improvement of North Korean human rights…including the distribution of food it provides.” As stated earlier within this paper, famine is one of the main accusations made against the regime, resulting in the repatriation of countless citizens to China. By setting rules on the amount of food distributed, South Korea would at least be guaranteeing that the people of North Korea would no longer be starving to death.

Yet another logical way to persuade North Korea to treat their citizens more fairly has to do specifically with the example set by other countries, namely South Korea. In other words, the South Korean government also needs to consciously improve the human rights of their own citizens, as they do not want to be accused of being hypocritical. Confidence in their own human rights would also help at the bargaining table, at least as a confidence booster and affirmation of their goal to improve rights for the North Korean people, for Park states that it is accurate that “past governments in Korea intentionally avoided taking the North Korean human rights issues, afraid of that North Korea or international community may also raise human rights issues in South Korea.” There has also been concern amongst the Korean people that by exposing North Koreas human rights issues, the Korean government is “only interested in publicizing the superiority of the South Korean system over that of North Korea” (hrnk.org, sec. 6). These concerns are truly petty and foolish when the human rights violations of North Korea are put into perspective Whether such acts can be brought to the table and actually implemented under Kim Jong Il’s regime will be interesting to see, but one thing remains certain: emphasis and concern should focus mainly on the inhumanity against the people of North Korea, and with their best interest at heart; something that is often forgotten in international politics.



Works Cited:

Cannibalism in North Korea Prisons. 11, April, 2003.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=31996


Choi, Sung-Chul. Understanding Human Rights in North Korea. Seoul: Center for

the Advancement of North Korean Human Rights, 1997.


Conference Focuses on North Korean Human Rights Abuses. 16, July 2003.

http://www.usembassy.it/file2003-07/alia/a3071709.htm


Human Rights Conditions in North Korea. 7, April 2000.

http://dons.usfca.edu/~tollal2/hr1.html


Improving North Korean Human Rights and the Role of NGO’s. 11, Nov. 1999.

http://www.hrnk.org/resources-nkhrr.html


Korea: Democratic People’s Republic Of. 11, Dec. 2002.

http://web.amnesty.org/web/ar2002.nsf/asa/


Learning from Central Europe: The Struggle for Human Rights in North Korea. 2,

March, 2003. http://www.ned.org/about/carl/mar0203.html


North Korea: North Korean Law, Legal Research, Human Rights

http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/world/northkorea.htm


North Korea Plays its Nuclear Card. 13, Dec. 2002.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1213/p01s04-woap.htm


Marcus, David. “Famine Crimes in International Law.” The American Journal of

International Law 97, 2 (2003): 245-281.
Natsios, Andrew S. The Great North Korean Famine. Washington, D.C.: Institute of

Peace Press, 2001.


The Problems of Human Rights in North Korea. 18 Jan. 2000.

http://www.nknet.org/enknet/data/hwang1-2.htm


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