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    Types of Abusing Human Rights in North Korea

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    Since, Cold War Era, Korea has been dived by South and North by the invasion of North camp to the South camp. The Korean War on June 25th, 1950, was not only a war between South and North but also conflict between liberalism and communism. So the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Nations had been involved in it which means lots of confusions had existed at that time. During this period of confusion, Kim Il-sung, the foundation of a leader in the North, had governed North Korea. The tragedy on people of North Korea has been started from this period.

    There was only one-party, called “Rho-dong Dang,” it has been monopolised that there has been no competitive party to restrain the overpower by one-party. This is why he could take the helm of the communist state and keep his dictatorship during his lifetime. And there were no suggestions; all resolutions decided as just ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If one says ‘no’, one gets killed that all resolutions pass as unanimity. Like dynastic leadership, his son Kim Jung-il inherited the position of leader and he governed North Korea during all his lifetime. Also, the son of Kim Jong-il, the recent leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-eun inherited the position of leader. This is the first in modern history that hereditary succession of three generations.

    And he follows the same steps that his grandfather and father have done. When Kim Jong-eun suddenly became a leader by the death of his father, there were a lot of propagandas of deification on him. People in North Korea have been brainwashed under restricted media since the foundation of Kim Il-sung. So, every single word from his mouth is the absolute right and powers that leadership of North Korea has been continued without a movement. North Koreans had no ability or opportunity to outstand against the leading group, it was like a fate that no one can change or run away under no human rights.

    Under this suppression, abusing human rights is the worst problem that people in North Korea had to face with it. There are many types of abusing human rights appeared that are possibly sorted by several big categories as ‘Execution’, ‘Labor Right’, ‘Restriction of Freedom’, and ‘Torture’.


    The death penalty can be applied for an ambiguously defined offence such as ‘Crimes against the state’ or ‘Crimes against the people’. Even non-violent offences reached to death penalty such as fraud or smuggling that many executions frequently occurred. And, some killings are opened to the public without any tear or scream from audiences. Because if one cries out or shout out on public execution, one also gets execution at the same time. Types of executions are various, and objects of executions are unlimited, such as using drugs on a newborn baby, killing by a German shepherd, group of gun-fire, killing by the electric fence or chair, or burning alive. After executions, dead bodies are buried randomly; sometimes, many corpses buried together or burning corpses secretly.

    Labour Right

    North Korea has been refused to join the “International Labor Organization” that workers cannot make a group of freedom of association in systematically, does not have the right to organise and collectively bargain. The only authorised organisation of trade union is the ‘General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea’, which is controlled by the government. One of the particular groups in the finest working environment, the Kaesung Industrial Complex (KIC), which is located in the administrative industrial zone of the southern border, was cooperated with South Korea since 2003. There are about 120 South Korean companies employing approximately 52,000 North Korean workers, managed by 780 South Korean supervisors.

    Both North and South Korea committee lead the KIC, but their governing laws and conditions are still far short from international standards. So, these poor conditions of labour rights have been pointed out but North Korea government insist they are in right terms. According to their insistences, a simple comparison between their governing laws and international standards is unreasonable that comprehension of North Korean working environment is needed. And Workers in KIC are already in better working conditions than other workers in North Korea that every ordinary worker wants to work in KIC. Also, the recent environment of KIC does not operate in the favourable state or discontinued on operation because of some conflictions between North Korea and South Korea.

    Restriction of Freedom

    All kinds of freedoms are restricted that people in North Korea have no right to choose any options. There is no way to get some information because all publications and media are state-controlled, non-state radio and other broadcasts are unauthorised. Only one TV channel filled with propaganda is allowed to watch. Phone calls and access to the Internet are limited within the state. In addition, they do not have the right to wear personal clothes like jeans or short skirts, unable to travel without an ID and to have other religion. Because of deification on Kim Jong-eun, self-reliance ideology exists that anyone cannot have any religions such as Christian or Buddhism. The government gives the job that people have to follow and no right to choose another career. Also, hierarchy does exist that people who have power or money can do whatever they want to do. Thus, the government generates fear obedience and imposes harsh restrictions on freedom of information as using forced labour, threats of detention, and public executions.

    Out of fears and hungers, people wanted to escape North Korea, but freedom of movement is also restricted that they could not easily across the border. Government criminalises leaving the country without state permission and gives harsh punishments to defectors by putting them in political prisoner camp. The government increased the fences, security cameras, and patrols on the borderline of China side to block to escape. Thus, crossing the borderline is getting difficult that numbers of escapers are decreasing in these days. Even if they could escape North Korea, they have to go through with danger journeys to pass other borderline such as China to Laos and then into Thailand, and the final destination of South Korea. While this long journey, they have to face hardships as illegal immigrants or refugees. In the case of women, they would be the object of human trafficking that forced de facto marriages. Even if they lived in that country for years, they are not authorized as a legal residence that faces the arrest and repatriation. Children from this kind of unrecognised marriages do not have a legal identity that has no opportunity for elementary education.


    The facts of tortures, many witnesses have been carried as stories by survivors who escaped from ‘Political Prisoner Camp’, also as known as “Kwan-li-so.” Four Political Prisoner Camps have existed place after place. According to the United States and South Korean official, they estimated that about 80,000 through 120,000 people are imprisoned. Government of North Korea punishes not only the offenders but also the entire family of the person. Also, people who tried to cross the border of China imprisoned in this camp, and even child or handicapped people also forced labour. Most tortures and inhumane treatments have been occurred from there and annually 10,000 people are killed. When people get in there the first time, they get a shameful physical examination that clothes are stripped off to expose concealed money and defecation in a public place to find hidden money. After interrogation, prisoners forced into more than 12 hours of slave labor and humiliated by feeding naked. When one of the prisoners violates the rule, one should suffer the pain of a fractured joint. If one makes mistakes during labour, one gets punishment by cutting off a finger.

    Besides, Child abuse and sexual abuse also occurred. Children are forced to grow the opium, trained for a public performance, or trained as soldiers. Women in Political Prisoner Camp are regarded as the playing of soldiers if they refuse the sexual demands, other female inmates tortured. When one of the women becomes pregnant, she becomes a seesaw to force an abortion. And, fire torture is used to the uterus to prevent a second pregnancy.

    As stated by those abusing Human Rights, people would wonder why and how these severe problems would be happened in fair and proper in North Korea. In order to analyse it, the Levels of Analysis would be appropriate and comprehensive because North Korea governs like a dynastic leadership that analysis on the leader is essential to know. Especially for Kim jong-eun, he is able to follow predecessors more easily that his grandfather and father already made a solid way in policy. State, a group of North Korea is also irregular unlike other ordinary groups of states that it needed to be analysed because their type of government, economic system, and interest groups within the country are unique. Also, the problem in North Korea cannot be solved by the North Korean government itself and they do not try to cooperate with other countries. Thus, the International Organizations such as IGOs and NGOs are necessary to be involved in helping them out with observations and solutions.

    As features of International Relation, there is no central government to settle the conflicts among countries, laws that able to restrict the crimes of other states, and law execution organisation. So, each country seeks its own benefit that cooperation is not easy to be accomplished if there is no cooperation among nations. This is the reason that dynastic leadership in the government of North Korea has abused Human Rights without punishments. However, abusing Human Rights is not only the problem of people in North Korea but also a problem in international society. Since this is a worldwide issue and uneasy to solve, a positive solution is necessary to settle this problem, which is movements by International Organization. IGOs and NGOs have concerned and observed on it to set it right and they have extended a warm helping hand to people in North Korea.

    According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW), North Korea requested for help to the International Society in 1995 because of huge hunger. Over 70 NGOs mostly consisted of Europe and the United States, participated in supporting a business on North Korea. While they were helping out to North Korea, it was easier to deal with the problems on abusing Human Rights, but North Korea requested to discontinue the supporting business in 2005 to get out of observations from International Organizations. During negotiations between North Korea and International Organizations, only six NGOs were able to reside in North Korea. List of six resided NGOs are Concern World Wide, Premiere Urgence, Triangle Generation, Handicap International, German Agro Action, and Save the Children. They support mostly on agriculture for hunger and basic medical welfare. However, this supporting is reduced about 90Percent than before that it is too insufficient to help people out widely. More concerns of help are necessary to save those people in North Korea who do not even know what Human Rights are. Thus, this is supporting part of International Organization by NGOs.

    United Nation, as part of IGOs, also has observed North Korea and concerned on abusing Human Rights, but cooperation from North Korea to UN have been worst, and North Korea’s violations are systematic and widespread by the government itself. “UN Commission of Inquiry” (COI) recommended the international community should be responsible through a UN Security Council to protect those abusing Human Rights. Finally, this case was passed to the “International Criminal Court” (ICC) in December 2014 and resolution on North Korea’s Human Right started working on by other countries. On October 2015 by information on UN, a draft of the declaration contained that UN would report both leader and problems of Human Rights on North Korea to ICC and this is the first time in the history of UN. Thus, role by IGOs presents the roots of settlement because they have more power to influent on International Society.

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