Table of Contents
1. Human Rights Mechanisms in the DPRK
─ Physical Geography
─ Guiding Ideology and Social System
2) Views and Stand of the DPRK on Human Rights
① Human Rights is Independent Rights.
② Popular Masses Enjoy Genuine Human Rights
③ Human Rights is State Sovereignty.
④ Basic Human Rights and its Standards.
─ Basic Human Rights.
─ Human Rights Standards
3) Development of Human rights Mechanism in the DPRK
(1) Foundation for the Establishment of Human Rights Mechanisms
(2) Establishment of Democratic Human Rights Mechanisms
(3) Democratic Human Rights Mechanisms in the Wartime
(4) Establishment of Socialist Human Rights Mechanisms
(5) Consolidation of the Socialist Human Rights Mechanisms
4) Human Rights Mechanisms in the DPRK
(1) Ensurance of Human Rights by the Constitution
(2) The System of Human Rights Laws
(3) Organs for the Protection & Promotion of Human Rights
(4) System of Human Rights Education and Dissemination
2. Enjoyment of Human Rights by the DPRK Citizens
1) Political Rights
(1) Right to Vote or to be Elected
(2) Freedom of Speech and Press
(3) Freedom of Assembly and Association
(4) The Right to Freely Participate in State Governing
(5) Freedom of Religion and Thought
2) Civil Rights
(1) Right to Life
(2) Right not to be subject to Torture
(3) Right not to be subject to Slavery
(4) Right to Personal Liberty and Security
(5) Right to Fair Trial
3) Socio-economic Rights
(1) Right to Work
(2) Right to Social Security
(3) Right to Adequate Standard of Living
4) Social and Cultural Rights
(1) Right to Education
(2) Right to Participate in Scientific & Cultural Activities
(3) Right to Health
5) Rights of Special Group
(1) Rights of Women
(2) Rights of the Child
(3) Rights of the Aged Persons
(4) Rights of the Persons with Disabilities
3. DPRK Position and its Efforts for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights at the International Level
1) Principled Stand of the DPRK on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights at the International Level
① Views on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights at the International Level
② Views and Principled Stand on International Human Rights Instruments
2) Faithful Implementation of the International Human rights conventions
① DPRK-acceded International Human Rights Instruments
② Implementation of the International Human Rights Instruments to which the DPRK is a Party
3) International Cooperation in the Field of Human rights
4. Main Obstacles to the Promotion of Human Rights in the DPRK
1) Hostile Policy of the United States and Its Attempts to Stifle the DPRK
(1) Hostile Policy of the United States
(2) War and Aggressive Manoeuvres
(3) Economic Sanctions
(4) Nuclear Issue
2) Anti-DPRK Human Rights Campaign by the US and its Followers
(1) Reactionary Nature of the Anti-DPRK Human Rights Campaign on Human
(2) The Criminal Moves by the US and its followers to internationalize “the DPRK Human Rights Issue”
5. Prospects for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in the DPRK
1) Policies and Measures for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights of the Korean People
2) Continued Efforts for Perfect Human Rights Legal Mechanisms
3) Safeguard of National Sovereignty & Creation of Peaceful Environment
Review of the DPRK Association for Human Rights Studies
Recently, distorted views are floated by anti-DPRK hostile forces about the realities of the DPRK, especially its human rights situation, causing serious misunderstanding thereof.
The United States and its followers are pursuing persistent anti-DPRK human rights campaigns aimed at interfering in its internal affairs and eventually overthrowing the social system by fabricating “human rights issue” of the DPRK to mislead international opinions and raise it to the United Nations.
However, truth will always prevail and cannot be covered by whatever means.
The DPRK Association for Human Rights Studies, with a view to helping the international community have a correct understanding of the human rights situation in the DPRK, publishes this comprehensive and detailed report on the history of the Government’s efforts for protecting and promoting human rights, realities, obstacles to its efforts in ensuring human rights, and status of implementation of its international obligations.
This report has been prepared on the basis of studying and analyzing a huge number of documentations such as official documents, human rights-related laws and publications of the DPRK, international human rights instruments, documents and data of international human rights organizations and the current situation of the country as well.
Contributions and views were solicited from State organs such as the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, Supreme Court, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Education Commission and Ministry of Public Health, non-governmental organizations (social organizations) like the Korea Education Fund and Korean Federation for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities and professors and researchers at the institutions of legal education and studies including Law College of Kim Il Sung University and Legal Institute of the Academy of Social Sciences and many other individuals.
This report was published with consent to any insufficient and incomplete parts in its contents.
1. Human Rights Mechanisms in the DPRK
This part provides a summary of the geographical location, history, and social system of the DPRK, views and stand of the DPRK in respect of human rights and development of legal system of human rights protection, as well as the current situation of the country.
─ Physical Geography
Korea is situated in the east of the Asian continent. It consists of the Korean peninsula and 3,452 islands around it, extending over a total area of 223,370 square kilometres.
The northern part of the Peninsula is bordered by China and Russia with Amrok River and Tuman River between two sides. The Korean Peninsula is surrounded by East Sea, West Sea and South Sea of Korea, faced with Japan in its East Coast.
With nearly 80% of its territory mountainous, it has high mountains, deep valleys, hilly areas and thick forests. The six famous mountains, namely, Mt. Paektu, Mt. Kumgang, Mt. Myohyang, Mt. Kuwol, Mt. Chilbo and Mt. Jiri are well known to the world.
There are rivers, lakes and springs in many different parts of the country, ranking it among those countries with plenty of water sources. Mineral water and hot springs numbering 179 are well known for their good quality.
Korea has four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter; each season has its distinctive characteristics and unique beauty.
Considering the size of its territory, Korea is rich in mineral resources. Hence, they say its area should be measured by cubic meters, not square meters.
In particular, Korea ranks among the leading countries in the world in terms of deposits of iron ores and magnesite. The area of limestone deposits, the main raw-material of cement, covers 25~35% of its land and coal deposits amount to billions of tons.
Korea is a land of Korean ancestors that lived there generation after generation from ancient times, and one of the origins of human culture where they created and succeeded their own Taedonggang Culture.
In the early 3,000 B.C., Tangun, the founding father of the Korean nation, opened a new era of civilization by founding Ancient Korea with Pyongyang as its centre, which was the first ancient state in the eastern Asia.
Koreans, a homogeneous nation with the same blood, language and culture, lived in one land from ancient times. They are a resourceful nation that created material and cultural wealth through their creative activities.
Koreans were the first in the world to invent iron-clad warship, metal types and astronomical observatory. Numerous historic sites and relics including Koguryo tomb murals and historic relics in Kaesong were registered as the world cultural heritages.
In modern times, Korea was turned into the arena of competition between big powers, finally suffering the disgrace of being occupied by the Japanese aggressors in early 20th century.
Under the leadership of the Great President Kim Il Sung, Korean people waged a 20-year long anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle to liberate the country on August 15, 1945.
On Sep. 9, 1948, they formed a genuine people’s government for the first time in the national history by founding the DPRK that represents the interest of the entire Korean nation.
The US imperialists occupied the southern part of Korea after the World War II under the pretext of “liberating” it and invaded the northern part of Korea on June 25, 1950 to eliminate the country in its infancy. However, the Korean people performed a world-startling heroic feat by defeating the US who boasted of being “the strongest” in the world.
Korea was first divided into the north and the south after the liberation from the Japanese military occupation with the 38th parallel of the north latitude as a border and then after the Korean War by the military demarcation line drawn in accordance with the Korean Armistice Agreement.
Upholding the banner of independence and self-reliance, Korean people successfully carried out the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal democratic revolution, post-war reconstruction and socialist construction, and established in 1958 the first socialist system in the East.
After the establishment of the socialist system, the DPRK strengthened the political foundation of the country by dynamically carrying out the three revolutions of ideology, technology and culture and laid firm foundations of the independent national economy by carrying out the historical task of industrialization in a short span of 14 years.
In the DPRK, great efforts were exerted to raising people’s living and cultural standards, thus resulting in a great advance in basically meeting their needs for food, clothing, housing, education, cultural activities and health care. Taxation was abolished and systems of universal free medical care and free education have been put in place.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s when many countries were undergoing great political turmoil due to the collapse of the socialist system and the return of the capitalist system, the DPRK continued to maintain its socialist system and worked hard to safeguard its ideology and system and provide people with happy life.
The DPRK strengthened its defense capabilities by virtue of the Songun politics, successfully went through the Arduous March and Forced March and laid firm foundations on the basis of which the building of a prosperous and powerful country could be dynamically pushed forward.
The 60-year long history of the DPRK is a history of self-reliance in which Korean people established and strengthened the people-centered socialist system under the wise leadership of the great President Kim Il Sung and the great leader Kim Jong Il.
If the DPRK had yielded to unprecedented trials and difficulties and depended on others or given up the principle of self-reliance in the face of the pressure of outside forces, the socialist system centred on popular masses could not have been safeguarded and its identity would have disappeared with the collapse of world socialist system.
─ Guiding Ideology and Social System
The guiding ideology of the DPRK is the Juche idea.
In a nutshell, the Juche idea means that man is the master of everything and decides everything. In other words, it means that man is responsible for his own destiny and also has the capacity to shape his destiny.
The Juche idea is the most scientific and revolutionary guiding ideology as it guarantees, through adherence to the principles of independence, self-reliance and self-defense in the activities of the State, the status of the people as the masters of the revolution and construction in the political, material and military fields, realizes the independence of the people in all aspects of social life and advances the revolution and construction to victory.
All the achievements made by the Korean people in their efforts to build and strengthen the socialist system represent the triumph of the line and policies of the DPRK guided by the Juche idea and vivid manifestation of superiority and stability of the government of the DPRK.
The Juche idea is the ideology of believing in people as in heaven. Take full responsibility for and protect people’s future and spare nothing for the promotion of their welfare – this is a political doctrine and principle of activities of the DPRK Government.
The Government of the DPRK guided by the Juche idea is carrying out its responsibility and mission as a representative of people’s independent rights, organizer of their creative abilities and activities, householder responsible for their living conditions and protector of their independent and creative life.
The social system of the DPRK which has embodied the Juche idea is a people-centered social system in which people are the masters of everything and everything serves them.
Its political system is popular as it makes people masters of state governing, serves them and bestows upon them priceless political integrity.
Its economic system ensures people an independent and creative working life, as well as affluent and civilized living standard. Its cultural system enables people to create and fully enjoy socialist culture.
All the lines and policies adopted and implemented in the DPRK, a people-centered social system are directly related to ensuring people’s independent rights, with top priority given to their interests and convenience.
Under such social system, the Korean people enjoy a worthwhile and happy life without any social and political uncertainty, and beautiful traits of helping each other and sharing joys and sorrows under the slogan of “one for all and all for one” are witnessed in various social life.
The Korean People are convinced that their state and social system based on the Juche idea are the most superior and popular one as it guarantees them genuine freedom and rights and place absolute trust in it, making devoted efforts to further consolidate and develop it under the wise leadership of the respected Marshal Kim Jong Un.
2) Views and Stand of the DPRK on Human Rights
At present, countries and nations have their own views and stand on the concept of human rights, and international human rights instruments adopted so far fail to provide unified and correct definition thereof.
Furthermore, certain countries and hegemonic forces are spreading their values and grossly distorted human rights views, while violating the sovereignty of other countries and infringing upon their human rights.
Under such a situation, without a correct view on human rights, countries cannot guarantee their people genuine human rights or properly deal with human rights issues arising at the international level by counteracting the arbitrariness and high-handedness of hegemonic forces.
Placing human being at the centre of all considerations and in consideration of the actual realities of the country and practical experience, the DPRK endeavors to protect and promote the genuine human rights with correct views and stand on human rights.
The following are the main views and stand of the DPRK on human rights:
* Views and stand of the DPRK with respect to human rights are based on the people-centered Juche idea, the most scientific ideology for the protection and promotion of people’s independence.
① Human Rights is Independent Rights.
As human rights literally mean the rights of human beings, their concept should be defined on the basis of human nature.
Independence is intrinsic to the nature of human being. The right to realize independence is after all the independent rights; that is the human rights.
Independence is an attribute of a social being desirous of living and developing in an independent way as the master of the world and his destiny.
Independence is the life and soul of man, a social being. Man can maintain his dignity and worth as a social being and live a life worthy of a human being only when he achieves independence.
If man is to achieve independence, he needs to have the right empowering him to realize it. It is because the right embodies his wishes and needs, as well as the responsibility on the part of the State concerned to ensure that it is realized.
Independent right reflects independent wishes and demands of a man desirous of living and developing free from all sorts of restrictions and subjugation as the master of the world and his own destiny, and makes it possible for him to maintain and realize it.
The rights that do not embody independent will and demand of man or fail to realize them are not human rights in the real sense of word.
This shows that any discussion of human rights apart from the independent nature of man is meaningless, and that human rights cannot be protected and realized unless man’s independence is realized.
Man’s activities to realize his independence cover all aspects of social life.
For this reason human rights are independent rights that enable man to hold his position and play the role as the master in all fields of social life including politics, economy and culture.
In the final analysis, if human rights are regarded as independent rights, the efforts to realize them are just. However, protection and promotion of “human rights” based on unscientific viewpoint on man’s nature cannot be justified no matter which country claimed them or which international document “confirmed” them.
② Popular Masses Enjoy Genuine Human Rights
Human rights are defined in international human rights instruments as the “rights of all members of the human family” or “rights of all human person”.
It is understandable that the definition of human rights is given in such broad terms since it should be acceptable to all states and nations with different social and political systems and different level of development.
Such definition has some significance in avoiding argument and dispute among different states and nations concerning the concept of human rights and leading them to compromise and agreement.
However, the failure to provide clear-cut definition of human rights in the international instruments gave room to different countries to interpret it in their own ways.
Those who make such interpretation can be divided into two groups.
In the first group they argue whether human rights are the rights of individuals or collectives, while to the second group belongs to those debating whether human rights have class character or super-class character.
Whether human rights are the rights of individual or collective – the former is the right of an individual as a member of the collective. Therefore, the right of individual apart from the social collective is unthinkable.
Popular masses demand the genuine rights, the independent rights, to live and develop independently and creatively free from the all kinds of fetters of nature and society and they are the owner of creative capability to realize it.
As historical facts show that all rights that the people in different time championed are presented by their intention and demand and realized by their efforts.
The rights that do not reflect their demand and the right that is not guaranteed by the people’s efforts can not be regarded as genuine rights.
The independent demand of the social collectives for the existence and development of the collective is the common demand of the social members and independent demand of the individual is the demand which one deserves as the member of the society with guarantee from the collective.
The demand of the popular masses, social collective, represents the demand of the community and coincides with the demands of each member of the social collective.
In this context, guaranteeing human rights, in its true sense, means meeting both demands of collective and its members.
The true ideal of human rights to fulfil the demands and interests of the popular masses is out of agenda in countries where class confrontation, inequality, exploitation and oppression are rampant. The human rights in such countries are not meant for the popular masses which form majority of the society.
Regarding the human rights as the rights of the popular masses does not mean it ignores the general concept of human rights as defined in the international human rights instruments.
③ Human Rights is State Sovereignty.
At present, respect of sovereignty and non-interference in other’s internal affairs are recognized as the main principles in international relations.
It is important in international relations to respect other country’s independence and sovereignty and refrain from infringing upon them and interfere in matters under the jurisdiction of other country.
Nevertheless, the US and some western countries are of the view that the human rights comes before the state sovereignty, and the interference in other’s internal affairs is justified under the pretext of the “protection of human rights”.
The issues including political system, policy planning and its execution, administration of state organs, customs duty, nationality, ties and measures of each country in the international relation fall under category of internal affairs.
The same applies to the policy, mechanism and measures of each country related to ensuring the human rights.
Human rights is internal affairs and it presupposes the ensurance of state sovereignty. It is by no means an object of interference or a tool to justify it.
From this perspective, the DPRK maintains that human rights is state sovereignty.
In other words, it means that state sovereignty is the national independent rights.
People meet their independent needs in each national state as a unit.
The national sovereignty is needed to meet the demand of people in each national state.
All the people in each country exercise the human rights to meet the independent right of their own with the state ensurance of systematic and legal guarantee.
This means that the human rights is secured and guaranteed by the sovereignty of each country and nation, not by the interference and instruction of any country or international organizations.
In case a state loses its sovereign right, then human rights of the people and its promotion will remain a paper argument.
The colonial history of Korea in the past and violations of human rights currently committed by hegemonic forces in some countries such as Iraq clearly proves this fact.
* Korean people were subject to a miserable life worse than a dog of a family having funeral due to the deprivation of the country by the Japanese Imperialists. Japanese Imperialists occupied Korea by force of arms and trampled down all rights of Koreans under the gangster logic “Koreans should obey the Japanese laws or they shall die.”
There are big or small and developed or developing countries but no country has the right to trample upon the sovereignty of other nations.
Sovereignty of each country is equal; it is the absolute and inalienable right for all countries.
Human rights and state sovereignty are not the matter of theory. These are the serious political and legal matters which are directly connected with the destiny of sovereign country.
Therefore, high vigilance is required not to permit any act of interference by some countries and international human rights organizations under the name of “human rights protection”.
Not allowing any act of interference means the implementation of obligations by each country in promoting the human rights at international level.
④ Basic Human Rights and its Standards.
─ Basic Human Rights.
o Assessment of Different Views on Basic Human Rights.
At present, there are a lot of mentions about identifying basic human rights in international human rights instruments but no definition is given in that regard.
Not only in the arena of the international human rights but on the international political stages, various opinions circle around on the issue to which rights belong to the basic one among the rights which people have.
At present time the origin of the basic human rights are found in the “Declaration of the Rights for Human Being and Civilian” adopted in France on August 26th 1789 and “Declaration of Independence” adopted in US on July 4, 1776 in the capitalist world
The Declaration adopted by France asserts that “freedom, property, safety and resistance to the suppression” are the basic human rights while the “life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness” are regarded in such a way in the US Declaration.
But “basic human rights” in these declarations can not be the general basic human rights because it confirmed and consolidated the political and economic hold of the bourgeoisie.
Also there is view that the right of peace, right of environment is the basic.
It is the fact that the issue of the peace and environment presents itself as a very important one in the safety of the human rights today when aggression of hegemonic forces and acts of war are becoming evermore undisguised and the pollution and destruction of global environment threaten the existence of human beings.
But those can not be the basic human rights.
The meaning and content of the basic human rights can not be changed even though new matters of rights arise and they become the important rights.
Rights of peace and environment and asserted other rights are different in the content but they are asserted because of the lack of the guarantee of the basic human rights.
o Socio-political Rights, the Right of Dignity, the Right to Existence and Inviolability constitute Basic Human Rights
Basic human rights are the most important one which is the foundation and source of all rights. In other words, campaigning for the other rights can not be thought without basic human rights.
From this point rights bellow belong as follows.
First of all socio-political rights for protecting the socio-political independence belong to the basic human rights.
Socio-political independence is vital to the human, social being.
Without it, human is a social outcast and can not escape from the slavery even though he has physical life.
Socio-political independence can be campaigned through rights, the guarantee and exercise of socio-political right which contains the content of the freedom and right which people can participate in the realization of state authority, state management and socio-political activity.
If the human doesn’t become the political master with socio-political right and exercise, he can not be guaranteed the economic and cultural rights.
This shows that socio-political rights is the basic rights based on the human’s all rights and the most important right that can make him occupy the position and play the role as the master of the state and society.
There is right of dignity which the man should be respected socially in the basic human rights.
In the world the most dignified and valuable being is human.
Everything in the world has value of its own when it serves the human, the most dignified and valuable being.
Dignity and value of human can be exercised fully through the achievement of the social, moral equability, free development and exercise of right to be treated manly.
Moral discrimination is the insult to the dignity of human and slavery and inhuman and dishonourable morality and forcible acceptance is the infringement to the human dignity and right no matter it is done for any reason.
Also the international human rights documents confirmed that the right of dignity is the basic human right.
Right of existence and inviolable right also belong to the basic human rights.
Economic life is the field of social life that is essential to the existence and development of human.
Human can maintain its existence and glorify it when he has the right in the economic life which are rights of labour and ownership, and right of existence and exercise it freely.
Any exercise of rights can be thought without guarantee of freedom.
Human can exercise the human rights fully and peacefully when the inviolable rights, the right not to be in confinement and arrested imprudently, are guaranteed.
─ Human Rights Standards
o Assessment on Human Rights Standards in the International Human Rights Instruments
“Human rights standards” in the international field were established through the UN’s activity for the adoption of the human rights conventions after World War II.
Human rights standards established in the international human rights instruments reflect the reality of international community with existence of various idea and system and have the general standards and goals which each country should achieve in the arena of human rights.
Much progress has been made in the protection and promotion of human rights by the establishment and adoption of human rights standards.
But confrontations and contradictions exist between the states and groups over human rights standards and its adoption and it has been the serious international political and legal issue.
The important reason is the anti-human act of the US and western countries.
It will be explained in detail.
There is no human rights standard which every country can accept.
In every respect international human rights standards were reflected human noble ideal and justice to protect the human rights and established but that does not mean ignorance of demand and interests of people in every country.
Furthermore international human rights standards do not copy “standards” of particular countries or demand to follow it evenly.
As the guarantee of the human rights takes place with each national state as a unit, reality and demand of the national state should be concerned inevitably in analysing and applying the international human rights.
This means that international human rights standards should be established to be fit for the demand and reality of the national state and each state can establish human rights standards of their own and apply them.
o Negative nature of the “human rights standards” of the US and Western countries
The US and western countries misuse universality of the human rights standards established in the international human rights instruments and they are going still endless lengths in their manoeuvres to force their “human rights standards” upon other countries as they did before.
These countries make the rumour afloat that their “human rights standards” are the “fair standards” and “the best standards” which can be decided and solve all issues in the field of human rights.
It is axiomatic that “civilization” and “standards” of US and western countries, the boss infringing upon the human rights, can not be the unique human rights standards in the world.
“Human rights standards” of the US and western countries are reactionary ones applied in the imperialist way of thinking, with the view of value and way of life which look down, oppress and dominate others.
Nobody in international community empowered them to establish the international “human rights standards”.
These countries, unqualified to discuss the noble human rights, pretend to be “incarnation of human rights” and have been trying to force their standards as universal ones.
It was proved vividly that “COI” attempted to bring down the DPRK by collecting the prejudiced “data” without any scientific accuracy and objectivity in the content and raising the publication of “report” of intervention which is extreme in the selectivity and double-dealing standards.
Starting from the one-sided interests non-relevant to the human rights, US and western countries are exercising the collective force upon the countries maintaining their specific system and political mode by accusing them as “states infringing upon human rights”.
If the act of politicization, selectivity and double-dealing standard of the US and its followers, unqualified to discuss the genuine human rights, is connived, acts of taking issue with particular countries selectively for the political cause will be rampant more and more.
The acts of the US and western countries should not be allowed to go on as they happened in the arena of international human rights ; criticizing and taking issue with the human rights situation of the other countries for one reason that they are not their “allies” or “partners.”
o Standards of Human Rights Approved by the People is just
In every county those who demand the human rights and campaign it are the people and the one who decide and analyse is the people, too.
The standards which reflect the demand and intention people and realize it, is the human rights standards and that is the fair and genuine human rights standards if the people like.
There are so many countries in the world and each country is different not only in the field of political system but also in the fields of history, custom, economy, standards of cultural development and life style.
In such situations, the human rights standards should be established to meet the demand of people in each country.
No doubt that it is necessary to respect and consider the principles of international law and standards established in the international human rights documents as circumstances that countries established the human rights standards which meet the demand of people.
It is related that the principles of international law and human rights standards were reflected and established on the noble intention and desire for the building of new world with guarantee of genuine human rights and development of relations between countries based on independence.
Establishment and applying the human rights standard which respects the standards established in the international human rights instruments and fits for demand and reality belong to the sovereignty of each country.
Human rights could be only guaranteed by principled standards which respect the principle of international law and demand of people in each country, not by the arbitrary “standards” geared toward the narrow, selfish and vulgar purposes.
Government of DPRK has established the fair standard and guarantees all rights of social beings universally.
Through the practical life experience Korean people assure that human rights standards of DPRK are the true and fair standards which can guarantee their independent right.
“Human rights standard” based on the American view of value should never be applied to DPRK and used for the political purposes and precondition with development of relations.
3) Development of Human rights Mechanisms in the DPRK
The human rights protection system established in the DPRK right after its liberation from the Japanese colonial rule has a history of nearly 70 years.
For space constraints all of the particulars cannot be covered.
Therefore, the process of establishment and development of human rights protection system in the DPRK will be summarized, divided into several stages.
(1) Foundation for the Establishment of Human Rights Mechanisms
Efforts in the DPRK to establish the human rights protection system started with the laying of foundations.
As a structure on strong foundation is secure, so the effective human rights protection system requires good groundwork.
① Abolition of Colonial Anti-Human Rights Laws
Each and every law manufactured by Japan in Korea in the past were unprecedentedly evil, anti-human rights laws aimed at depriving Korean people of all political freedoms and rights, and forcing colonial slavery upon them.
Abolition of these evil laws that served to systematize servile submission and deprivation of rights was the first priority for the establishment of the human rights protection system that provides genuine democratic freedom and rights to Koreans.
Thus, soon after the liberation measures were taken to declare that all the laws and regulations enforced under the Japanese colonial rule were no longer effective and no legal order was permissible which was opposed to the building of a new country and the interests of the Korean people.
It was the manifestation of the will of the Korean people to verify by law that all laws that oppressed and plundered the Korean people and fettered Korea as a colony were abolished and to establish a new human rights protection system for the guarantee of the freedoms and rights of Korean nation on the basis of the democratic legal order.
Given the fact that in those days (1945) new democratic state laws were not yet enacted, these measures were significant as they laid down general principles to be adhered to in abolishing evil Japanese laws and enacting and enforcing new democratic human rights laws.
It was regarded as something unavoidable in former colonies to continue to enforce some of the colonial laws or refer to them when preparing bills.
Quite a few countries are known to have done so.
But Korea adhered to the principle of abolishing the whole lot of evil colonial laws and establishing a new legal system and order for the protection and promotion of the freedoms and rights of people on the basis of the democratic and revolutionary legal consciousness of people and as required by the new society.
② Establishment of Organizations for Human Rights Legislation
First priority was given to establishing local people’s committees and adopting legal instruments.
Organization of the mechanism for the enactment of the human rights and augmentation of its function and role became the important issue to establish the human rights mechanism in the liberated Korea without united central legislature.
Hence, various kinds of meetings including conference of people and inhabitants’ sessions were held and representatives were elected by the will of people and the local organs of power were organized.
Through these local organs of power popular and democratic policies were suggested to establish new democratic legal order and legal documents were made including decision, order, and proclamation for its implementation.
It shows that new popular and democratic documents of the human rights instruments were made from the level of the local people’s committee.
Even though the legal documents of local people’s committee represented the idea of local people and local effect but they played an important role in the establishment of popular and democratic human rights mechanism as the document of codified style which represent the consensus of the local people and protect their interests.
Thus, 10 Administrative Bureaus of north Korea were organized and enactment was undertaken.
As local people’s committees were set up in the north after the liberation of the country, it was necessary to strengthen relations between committees in all sectors including economy to give unified guidance to the economic sectors. On this purpose, the 10 Administrative Bureaus were organized on November 1945.
The 10 Administrative Bureaus, the sectional and central administrative organ, which gave instructions to each section of the economy and kept economy of each province connected, enforced various kinds of the human rights documents including decisions, proclamations, orders, rules and restriction.
As human rights law documents of local committee of people had effect in the scope of its region, the documents of the bureaus of north Korea had legal effect in every field across north Korea.
The enactment of the human rights law documents of bureaus was big progress for the organization and management of united human rights mechanism.
And provisional committee of north Korea was established and enactment was undertaken.
In Korea the provisional people’s committee of north Korea was established, the central government body of north Korea in the conference of the representative of democratic political parties and public organizations, administrative bureaus and people’s committee on February 8, 1946.
Provisional People’s Committee of north Korea was the legislative organ with the function of popular democratic dictatorship that enacted and enforced the united human rights laws and regulations all over north Korea.
From the time of establishment of the Provisional People’s Committee of North Korea and enactment of the human rights laws and regulations the united mechanism was established for the human rights instruments in Korea.
③ Democracy in Judicial System
Work of democracy in judicial system was the popular and revolutionary work of establishment of judicial system which protected the rights and interests of people by abolishing the old-fashioned judicial system that used to serve for the Japanese Imperialist rule.
Thanks to the democracy in judicial system, pro-Japanese elements and national traitors could be cleaned up while establishing the people-oriented and democratic human rights mechanisms and countering all the moves of the hostile forces.
By this 10 Administrative Bureaus of north Korea were organized and provision to organize the public prosecutor offices and court of justice of each level were made and systems of dual-instances was applied in judgment and people’s jury system was established.
After the establishment of Provisional People’s Committee of north Korea, the democracy in judicial system was accelerated even more.
Several laws and regulations including provision of Provisional People’s Committee of north Korea on March 6, 1946, “Fundamental Principle of the Organization and Function of Bureau of Justice, Court of Justice and Public Prosecutor Office” extensively regulated the fundamental principles of the duty, organization and activity of the judicial administrative and court of justice and prosecution organs.
These laws and regulations became legal foundation that judges could adjudicate fairly on the basis of the interests of Korean people and democratic legal consciousness on the condition that the laws and regulation such as civil and criminal substantive laws and regulations were not ready.
Democratic legal procedures and preliminary proceedings of organs court of justice and preliminary trial were also regulated.
Provisions of PPCNK “Regulations on the criminal judgment of the judicial organs of north Korea” (May 14, 1946) and “Law on criminal case examination of the security organs of prosecution level of north Korea” (June 20, 1946) regulated democratic principle in the organizing and activity of the court of justice.
Judges were elected in the people’s assembly – genuine organ of power of people – according to the provision of PPCNK “On the Election of Judges” for the first time in the history of DPRK on January 14, 1947.
This meant that court of justice was formed by the genuine representatives of people and became the court of justice that guaranteed the rights and interests of people in the true sense.
And also independence of judge was recognized and principle of open trial and rights of defence and appeal of accused were guaranteed by the enactment of the several legislations in order to realize democracy in judicial system.
Thus the democratic rights and freedom of people were guaranteed and democratic judicial system which guaranteed the construction of new fatherland was established after liberation in a short period of time.
(2) Establishment of Democratic Human Rights Mechanisms
After the liberation of the country, the establishment of democratic human rights mechanisms was raised as the important issue in the construction of new fatherland.
At previous time, corrupt class of feudal rule oppressed the people’s will and made people ignorant so that they could exploit and rule as they pleased.
Furthermore, the Korean people had nothing but to suffer from the absence of the rights and slavery in decades of occupation of Japanese Imperialists.
The system is needed that can guarantee the democratic freedom and rights of the people who led a miserable life due to maltreatment, contempt and ignorance for centuries. Under such system, the people could actively participate in the construction of new country full of pride as true master of the state and society.
The main principle in the establishment of democratic human rights system was the system that can ensure the democratic freedom and rights of the people.
Representative legal laws and regulations are as follows.
① Democratic Election Legislation
Democratic election legislation in the DPRK was established by the enactment of the laws related with the election of representatives in the local and central power organs.
The election law of representatives of local power organ includes the “Decision of the 2nd Enlarged Committee of Provisional People’s Committee of north Korea on the Election of the Member of People’s Committee of Sub-county, County, City and Province “(Decision of PPCNK on September 5, 1946) and “Election Regulation of Member of People’s Committee of Sub-county and ri of north Korea” (Decision of PPCNK on January 7, 1947).
These election laws regulated all the comprehensive rules to guarantee democratic election, including fundamental principle, procedure of framing list of elector, electoral district and sub district, procedure of candidate nomination, procedure of election and procedure of confirmation of result of election.
These laws had their own characteristics with the deepest consideration to legalize democratic electoral principle by means of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballots, and to offer conveniences to the people in the election.
Election laws on the reflection of the intention of the popular mass for the first time in the history of DPRK regulated the content to make people elect the representatives directly thus 99.6% of the wholes electors participated in the election.
Approval rate was 97% in election of provincial level, 95.4% in the level of city and 96.9% in the level of county.
Representative one among the election laws and regulations of the central organ of power was “Regulation on the election of representative of People’s Assembly of north Korea”.
According to this law the election of representatives of central organ of power held on February 17 to 20, 1947 was conducted in the ratio of five to one candidate of people’s committee of province, city, and county on the basis of democratic principle by secret ballots.
As a result 237 candidates from all walks of life including 86 from Workers’ Party of Korea, 30 from Democratic Party, 91 from Chongu Party, 91 independent representatives (34 women, 7 enterpriser, 10 merchants, 4 handcraft men, and 10 religionists among them) were elected as representatives of the central organ of power.
The fact that candidates from all walks of life were elected and broad masses of people participated in the election and cast the favourable vote, showed that election law established in Korea was democratic one which reflected exactly the demand of people who exercise the political rights through election.
By the establishment of election law, Korean people could have the absolute legal guarantee which they could exercise the political rights to the full and freedom by assuming the power
② Labour Legislation
In the DPRK, genuine and democratic labour legislation were established by the Labour Law and its detailed regulations.
Guaranteeing genuine rights of labour to the workers and office workers and improving the condition of labour and material life fundamentally is the important content of guarantee of democratic rights and freedom.
Laws and ordinances were promulgated on June 24, 1946 by the decision of the PPCNK.
“Labour Law of the Workers and Office Workers in north Korea” with 26 articles regulated extensively democratic freedom and rights including the 8-hour workday, equal wage system, paid vacation, social insurance system.
Particularly important one in the content of labour laws was to regulate the introduction of the 8-hours workday.
By regulating the introduction of the 8-hour workday remnants of the forced labour of Japanese colony which forced the unlimited labour time and severe labour condition, was abolished and the avenue of new life of labour was opened.
The introduction of 8-hour workday was the creation of the solid foundation that solved the biggest issue in the fulfilment of the independent and creative labour life and could accelerate the construction of the country dynamically by firing workers’ voluntary zeal.
The labour law regulated to introduce the 7-hour workday to the workers who worked underground and in the section of production that was harmful labour conditioned.
Considering that the intensity of the expenditure labour was different from the labour condition, it was the just step to guarantee the health and safety of life of workers.
According to this law child labour was prohibited completely in every field.
And it also regulated the issue of absolute abolishment of murderous famine wage system of during colonial time, introduction of the two week regular paid vacation to the workers and office workers, issue of the introduction of additional vacation of two week except for the regular vacation and the affair of introduction of social insurance such as issue of medical aid and payment subsidy according to the loss of the labour ability and death.
After promulgation of the labour law, PPCNK intensified the supervision and control for the enforcement of labour law while making people understand advanced content of the labour law and its enormous significance.
So the Labour Law was enacted and enforced in the whole region of north Korea in a short period of time.
After that as the situation developed several regulation that materialized and developed the law were established
Thanks to the democratic labour law, all the Korean workers and office workers could be free from the severe and forced colonial labour and gain the genuine and democratic freedom and rights. And fundamental change was made in their works and lives and the dramatic development was accomplished in the construction of new fatherland.
③ Gender Equality Legislation
In the past, the Korean women were ill-treated and regarded with contempt domestically and socially for a long time due to the idea of predominance of men over women. Especially situation under the colonial rule of Japanese imperialist were miserable and tearful indeed.
Japanese imperialists forced great number of Korean women and let work hard like beast of burden in the caves and wire entanglements in manufacturing war supplies. They even committed all kinds of atrocities such as forcibly drafting women to the war and to serve as sex slaves.
The number of Korean women who lost their youth and lives due to inhuman oppression, exploitation and unbearable acts of manly insults, was countless.
Out of this, legal confirmation and complete guarantee of women’s rights had been one of the essential issues in democracy in society and democratic human rights mechanism the after liberation.
Law for Gender Equality was established by enactment of several laws and regulations on the equality between men and women.
On July 30, 1946, PPCNK promulgated decision No. 54 “Law on Gender Equality in north Korea” to abolish the remnants of Japanese Imperialist colony and reform the feudal relation between men and women and let them to participate to the social life including politics, economy and culture.
Law declared that Korean women who were forsaken from the world and lived under the ill-treatment and contempt had equal rights with men in all fields of social life including political, economic and cultural life.
First of all, law for gender equality granted equal political freedom and rights with men.
By this law, women could participate in the election of all levels and had the right to vote and to be elected.
Also it regulated women had rights on same labour like men and rights of education.
This was the popular regulation which liberated them from the colonial labour life and absence of rights of education and guaranteed the equal stands with men in the economic life and made them to be creators of science and culture and enjoyers of it.
It regulated age of marriage, rights of free marriage and divorce, rights to claim the expense of bringing up a child and rights to inherit of assets and land equal with men. It also regulated to prohibit polygyny, feudal traditional customs which infringed the human rights such as the slave trade, licensed prostitute, unlicensed prostitute and professional entertainer system.
The promulgation of the law for gender equality was the century-old declaration of women’s liberty that realize the earnest desire of Korean women who tried to abolish the old wicked customs of predominance of men over women handed down for thousands of years and look forward the equal stands and rights with men.
PPCNK adopted the decision No. 78 of PPCNK “Detailed Regulations to Enforcement of Law for Gender Equality” (September 14, 1946) for the strict enforcement of law for equality between men and women.
Decision regulated in detail every provision relevant to the rights which could be demonstrated in actual life.
By establishment of the law for equality between men and women, all kinds of colonial and middle-aged wicked evils were thoroughly abolished which violated the human rights of Korean women for a long time. Women could also exercise the equal rights with men in the socio-political life and family life and the legal guarantees were made that could respect and protect the dignity and human rights of the Koreans.
Lots of laws and regulation were enacted and enforced to guarantee the democratic freedom and rights to people in social life including science, education and public health and the domestic measures were taken in relations with the laws.
④ Legalization of Democratic Human Rights Mechanisms by virtue of the Constitution
The DPRK Constitution was adopted with the founding of the DPRK in September 1948.
The Constitution integrated the democratic freedom and rights granted and ensured to people through individual law and regulations.
Declaring the equal rights of citizens in all spheres of social life, the Constitution stipulated, first of all, the rights in the political sphere including the right to elect and to be elected, freedom of speech, press, assembly, demonstration, mass meeting, association, religion and holding of religious ceremonies as well as the right to organize and join political parties, public organizations and other institutions.
This was the legal expression of political independence of people as the fundamental freedom and rights attained in the sphere of socio-political life.
The constitution also stipulated the rights of the working people in the sphere of economic life; the right to equal pay for equal labour, the right to material assistance through social insurance system and the right to management of small- and middle-size trade and industry.
The Constitution specified the rights in the sphere of social life; the right to compulsory primary education and education in college and university at the state expense, the right to protection of marriage and family, the right to inviolability of the person, the right to submission of complaints and petitions.
The Constitution also stipulated the right of asylum and the equal rights of minority citizens.
Rights and freedom of citizens as specified in the Constitution were mere legalization of what the people living in the northern half of Korea were already enjoying, since citizens as the masters of the country and society were entitled to such rights and freedom.
Rights and freedom of citizens specified in the Constitution were the practical rights and freedom which were guaranteed politically by the state power, materially by the successes of democratic reform of economy, legally by the individual laws and regulations.
With the adoption of the Constitution, the issue of fundamental law, which is most important in the human rights mechanism, was settled satisfactorily, laying legislative foundations for the human rights laws and their further development in an integral form.
Since the adoption of the Constitution, the limitations of individual human rights laws were overcome and the human rights laws and regulations defining the social relations of the same field were systematized in integrated context according to a certain standard.
At the same time, great efforts were made to improve and perfect the human rights mechanism by adopting sectoral codes such as the Law on Establishment of Tribunals, Penal Code, Laws of Criminal Procedures, etc.
As a result, the democratic human rights mechanism was established basically in the DPRK.
The establishment of democratic human rights mechanism was the epoch-making landmark in the course of development of human rights law to guarantee the independent right of popular masses.
It also provided practical answers to the countries which achieved national independence from colonial or semi-colonial rule of imperialism and began construction of new society on how to enact and enforce the human rights laws and regulations.
(3) Democratic Human Rights Mechanisms in the Wartime
The Korean War (June 25, 1950-July 27, 1953) provoked by the US brought the Korean people untold sufferings and calamities.
The brutal air bombing and artillery shelling by the US severely destroyed factories and enterprises, and turned urban and rural areas into ruins.
In the period of strategic temporary retreat during the Korean War, the US massacred the innocent people indiscriminately, destroyed and burned down hundreds of thousands of houses, a large number of schools, hospitals, factories and enterprises, set the tax-in-kind stores and peasants’ rice stacks on fire and plundered a large amount of food and livestock.
The war deteriorated the people’ livelihood drastically and produced many war victims and orphans.
However, the people’ livelihood was relatively stable during the 3-year war period, and there was not a single case of death due to starvation or cold other than those killed by the US indiscriminate and brutal air bombing and artillery shelling.
This is the precious fruition of the people-oriented policies and efforts of the DPRK Government which paid deep attention to the people’ life, health and the stability of their livelihood, and maintained and developed the democratic human rights mechanisms even in the wartime.
① Maintaining Human Rights Mechanisms
The history of world wars spans thousands of years but it is the Korean War only, in which human rights mechanisms for the people were defended and people’ livelihood stabilized even in the severe circumstances of war.
As the wartime ordinances take strict and legal sanctions against the slightest behavior of violating the labour discipline or laying down weapons and deserting the battlefield, it has been recognized that they generally slight the protection of people’ s life and health, and the people’s livelihood in particular.
For this reason, it has become unavoidable that human rights mechanisms in peace time are either abolished or reduced to a mere name in wartime, the consequences of which were factories, hospitals, schools, houses burnt to ashes, countless refugees and orphans, deterioration of people’ lives.
Providing necessary human and material resources to the front and preventing disturbance of the rear were the only things that mattered.
However, the DPRK Government regarded the protection of people’ s lives and the stabilization of their livelihood as the most important nationwide work and an important mission of the wartime ordinances.
From such viewpoint and attitude, the DPRK Government has taken people-oriented legal measures such as the enactment and enforcement of legislation to ensure the rights of people in the circumstances of war, which other countries couldn’t imagine even in peacetime.
For example, according to such legislation as the Cabinet decisions ”Decision on the relief measures for war victims (November 20,1950) and ”Decision on the measures for stabilization of people’s livelihood in the Fatherland Liberation War”(January 25,1951), camps for war victims and orphans, old people’s homes and orphanages were set up, food and shelter provided, and all convenience offered through public catering and commercial networks.
Several legislation, such as the Cabinet decisions ”On lending working food to calamity-stricken peasants”(March 13,1952) and ”On measures to provide houses to workers and officers”(September 2,1952), provided the poor and calamity-stricken peasants with conditions for living and production and those who lost their jobs in the war with settled jobs, stabilized the lives of the workers and officers and raised their income.
Along with the measures to stabilize people’s material life, many legislation on education and culture were enacted and enforced for the stability of their cultural life.
Thanks to such legal measures for the protection of people’s life and health and the stabilization of their livelihood, no one died of hunger or was left homeless in severe war circumstances, and the children kept on studying without any interruption.
The people-oriented legal measures played an effective role in giving full play to the people’s strength and wisdom in their struggle for victory in the war.
② Evolution of Human Rights Mechanisms
Democratic human rights mechanisms of the DPRK were not at a standstill during the wartime but developed further in expectation of victory.
One good example is the free medical care system enforced in wartime .
The state’s measure to enforce universal free medical care system at its expense is the most popular public health policy.
It was not just an administrative affair but an important political work of realizing the long-cherished desire of the people and bringing earlier victory in the war.
It was by no means easy to enforce the universal free medical care system at state expense during the time of war decisive to the destiny of the country.
For the successful enforcement of free medical care system, a state should appropriate huge fund to public health and provide necessary material conditions. At that time, the DPRK was short of fund, and all medical facilities built in the post-liberation period have been completely destroyed in the war.
However, the DPRK Government was firmly determined to enforce the universal free medical care system for the protection of people’s life and health despite the heavy state burden and many obstacles arising in the war, and adopted the Cabinet Decision No. 203 on the enforcement of the universal free medical care system at state expense on November 11, 1952.
This Cabinet decision stipulated that the medical treatment and medicine at state-owned medical treatment and prevention institutions shall be provided free of charge to both in-patients and out-patients, and that Korean People’s Army medical treatment and prevention establishments shall also offer universal free medical care to ordinary people.
According to the Cabinet decision, the free medical care system was introduced for the first time in history from November 1, 1953 .
The universal free medical care system enforced in the fierce flames of Fatherland Liberation War is characteristic in that all citizens of the country were provided access to free medical care without discrimination.
The universal free medical care system enforced in the grim days of the war is the culmination and fruition of the love for the people shown by the DPRK Government which spares nothing for the protection of people’s life and health.
(4) Establishment of Socialist Human Rights Mechanisms
① Adoption of the Socialist Constitution
With the successful fulfilment of postwar rehabilitation and socialist revolution and the dynamic acceleration of socialist construction, socialist relations of production held undivided sway, and the collectivist character prevailed in all spheres of social life.
Against this background, the DPRK was faced with the task of fully legalizing the rights and freedom to be enjoyed by the people in socialist society, and of establishing the socialist human rights mechanisms.
The 1948 Constitution and the democratic human rights legislation could not correctly reflect the newly developed socialist relations as they were mere consolidation of victory and achievements gained in the struggle to eliminate remnants of the Japanese colonial rule and feudal customs and provide the people with the democratic rights and freedom.
For this reason, it was necessary to consolidate the achievements gained in the socialist construction and establish the human rights mechanisms to provide and promote the rights in reflection of the newly-developed socialist human relations in socialist society.
The adoption of the Socialist Constitution is highly significant for establishing the socialist human rights mechanisms.
It is because the Socialist Constitution, as a fundamental mother law, regulates all spheres of state and social life, and indicates the direction and sets criteria in the framing of other legislation.
All the laws in socialist law system are enacted in keeping with the requirements of the Socialist Constitution, and the Constitution and all sector-specific laws based on it build the framework of the law system.
The DPRK adopted the ”Socialist Constitution of the DPRK” in December, 1972, at the First Session of the Fifth Supreme People’s Assembly.
With regard to the fundamental rights of citizens, the Constitution elucidated the principle of collectivism on which the rights and duties of the DPRK citizens were based, and specified that the State would effectively guarantee genuine democratic rights and liberties as well as the material and cultural well-being of all its citizens, and that the rights and freedom of citizens would be amplified with the consolidation and development of the socialist system.
The Constitution stipulated the rights of citizens in the sphere of political life including the right to elect and to be elected and the freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, demonstration, association, religious beliefs, complaints, petitions, etc.
The Constitution also stipulated the rights of citizens in the sphere of economic and cultural life including the right to work, rest, free medical care and education, and the freedom of scientific, literary and artistic pursuits, etc.
The Constitution stipulated the rights of the people in need of special protection of the state and society, social status and rights of women equal to men, protection of marriage and family, inviolability of the person and the home, privacy of correspondence, legal protection of Korean nationals abroad, the right of asylum, etc.
* The basic rights of citizens stipulated in the Socialist Constitution are explained in details in page 40.
The Socialist Constitution fully reflected the interests and demands of workers, peasants, soldiers, working intellectuals and thoroughly defended their interests, legally guaranteeing all conditions to ensure genuine freedom and rights of all citizens in every sphere of social life.
The adoption of the Socialist Constitution was not only an epoch-making event of historic significance in the revolutionary struggle and construction work of Korean People but also marked a milestone in the establishment and development of socialist human rights mechanisms.
② Establishment of Sector-specific Human Rights Mechanisms
Following the adoption of the Socialist Constitution, the DPRK was faced with the task of adopting and revising the sector-specific human rights laws and their detailed regulations in keeping with the requirements of the Constitution.
The human rights laws of the socialist society are branched into distinctive sections of laws according to their specific characteristics, and these are linked organically together to form the integral system.
Sector-specific human rights mechanisms are based on such sectoral human rights laws.
The overall adoption and revision of sectoral human rights laws on the basis of the Socialist Constitution was not only a requirement of the socialist lawmaking but also an inevitable necessity in view of the reality of the DPRK where the socialist construction embarked on a new phase of development.
At that time the Socialist Constitution, the basic law that regulated all state and social activities and laid down the fundamental rights and duties of citizens, has been adopted but many sectoral human rights laws were not passed yet, while the existing sectoral laws did not meet the developing requirements of the socialist society.
Although the adoption of the Socialist Constitution was a great historic event in the Korean revolution and in the social and political life of the Korean people, it alone could not substitute for various codes of conducts in all spheres of social life.
For this reason, the DPRK eliminated all outmoded remnants of capitalism in the human rights laws and regulations, and enacted and enforced new socialist human rights laws, thus establishing the sector-specific human rights mechanism, that is, the sectoral-specific human rights law system.
The following are the typical laws that are significant in the establishment of sectoral human rights mechanism.
─ Law on the Enforcement of the Universal 11-Year Compulsory Education System
The basic aim of educational policy of the DPRK was to develop general education, improve and strengthen the popular educational system, and train a large number of technical cadres.
In particular, the introduction of compulsory education system in the field of general education was of great significance in ensuring the working people’s right to learn.
Despite the postwar difficulties, the DPRK introduced the universal compulsory primary education system in 1956, the universal compulsory secondary education system in 1958, and based on earlier successes, passed the law on the introduction of universal 9-year compulsory technical education system in 1966.
For the enforcement of this law , a dynamic struggle was launched to strengthen the material and technical foundations of schools, build up the ranks of competent teachers , improve the contents and methods of education, increase the term of education, and establish the education system of correspondence course and evening schools.
As a result, all preparations for the enforcement of the universal 11-year compulsory education system had been made to give the new generation the highest level of general education before and after the adoption of the Socialist Constitution.
Keeping up with developing realities, the law “On the introduction of Universal 10-Year Compulsory High Education and Compulsory 1-year Preschool Education” was adopted at the Second Session of the Fifth Supreme People’s Assembly on April 9, 1973.
This law declared that the universal 11-year compulsory education system would be introduced from 1972-1973 school years.
With the adoption of the law on the introduction of universal 11-year compulsory education, all the rising generations were granted the right to learn at state expense.
This far surpassed the standard set by the international human rights instruments including the international convention on economic, social, and cultural rights which stipulated that primary education should be compulsory.
The DPRK first introduced the universal 11-year compulsory education system in September 1972 and fully enforced it from September, 1975.
The 11-year compulsory education system has now developed into the 12-year compulsory education system under the law adopted at the Sixth Session of the Twelfth Supreme People’ Assembly in September 2012.
─ Law on the Abolishment of the Taxation System.
After the liberation, DPRK regulated and enforced the single popular taxation system.
Since then, it systematically took legislative measures for the improvement of taxation system in a way of reducing tax, and took the historic measure of completely abolishing the system of agricultural tax in kind in the period of overall socialist construction
The DPRK has the unique system of socialist production. Thanks to the system, the DPRK could fully afford the necessary funds for the economic and cultural construction, improvement of people’s livelihood, and the state management with the income of socialist state-run enterprises and cooperative organizations
In this circumstance, it was not necessary to maintain any longer the taxation system, the legacy of the old society.
Therefore, the state adopted the law ”On the Complete Abolition of Taxation System” on March 21, 1974.
Under the condition that the system of agricultural tax in kind had been abolished, the overall abolition of taxation system was to let the workers and officers free from tax once and for all.
That’s why the law completely abolished the small amount of tax paid by workers and officers.
The decision of the Administration Council (now Cabinet) for the correct enforcement of law on the complete abolition of taxation system was adopted on March 30, 1974.
The law and decision on abolishing the taxation system turned DPRK into a tax-free country for the first time in history and firmly guaranteed the realization of the historic cause of completely freeing the Korean people from tax burdens.
─ Law on the Establishment of the Tribunals and Civil Procedures Law
The Law on the Establishment of Tribunals adopted in November, 1976 is a sector-specific code which regulates the duties and competences of courts and other relevant organizations participating in the judicial activities, their organization and principles of activities, working procedures and methods by correctly embodying the state’s judicial policy and the constitutional principles of judgment
The Law on the Establishment of Tribunals has become the powerful legal weapon with which to protect the people’s sovereign and socialist system, citizen’s legitimate rights, life and properties from all sorts of infringements, enables all the state organs, enterprises, social cooperative organizations to correctly abide by the state law, and to wage an active struggle against all sorts of criminals.
The newly adopted Civil Procedures Acts (enacted at the same time as the law on the establishment of tribunals) consists of fundamentals of civil proceedings, general regulations, jurisdiction, litigators, evidence, litigation, judicial preparations and hearing, judgment and decision, second trial, extraordinary appeal, retrial, and the execution of judgment and decision.
The adoption of the Civil Procedures Acts provided legal guarantee for the smooth settlement of civil cases in accordance with the socialist principles, the requirements and interests of the people.
─Law on the Nursing and Upbringing of Children & Land Law
The law on nursing and upbringing of children was adopted at the Sixth Session of the Fifth Supreme People’s Assembly on April 29, 1976, as it was necessary to legally confirm the brilliant achievements gained in DPRK to nurse and educate children, and to further strengthen and develop this work.
The law on nursing and upbringing of children was the first sector-specific code of the DPRK that regulated the main systems in the field of nursing and upbringing of children.
The law on nursing and upbringing of children is the most popular one that guarantees the equal and impartial nursing and education of children at the expense of state and society, and at the same time, the most advanced one that guarantees the scientific and cultural nursing and upbringing of children.
The land-law adopted at the Seventh Session of the Fifth Supreme People’s Assembly on April 29, 1977, not only clearly defined the land ownership but also defined such issues as its important contents; the issue of doing planned land development as required by the master-plan for land development, of launching the nationwide and countrywide movement for land conservation and protection, of actively improving the paddy and dry fields and making an effective use of them, and so on.
Land law, a legalized land program of DPR Korea, was of significance in bringing about a great change in the development, protection, and management of land and improving the people’s living environment.
ㅡ Socialist Labour Law & Public Health Law
The DPRK adopted a new socialist labour law (April 18, 1978) which legally confirmed the achievements gained in the process of implementing the democratic labour law and the government’s labour policy and contained the principles and requirements of socialist working life.
The Labour Law proclaimed after the liberation was a democratic labour law to liberate the workers from colonial and feudal exploitations and oppressions but the socialist labour law is the new one which regulated the socialist working relationship to provide the independent and creative working life to the working people emancipated from the exploitations and oppressions.
The DPRK adopted the Public Health Law at the Fourth Session of the Sixth Supreme people’s assembly on April 3, 1980, to legally confirm the proud achievements gained in the most superior socialist health system and the field of public health, and develop the work of public health to a new higher stage as required by the developing reality.
The Public Health Law comprehensively regulated all the problems related to the public health services such as the basic principle of public health, complete and universal medical care system, health protection by the prophylactic policy, Juche-oriented medical science and technology, material supply to the work of public health, health workers, the true servants of people, public health establishments, their guidance and management and so on.
The Public Health Law firmly guaranteed the complete realization of the Korean people’s desire to enjoy a long life in good health by further consolidating and developing the socialist health system and boosting up the public health services to a new higher stage.
In addition to this, DPRK launched a dynamic struggle to enact and enforce the several sector-specific laws for the guarantee of people’s freedom and rights.
As the Socialist Constitution was adopted, and on the basis of it, sector-specific human rights laws were enacted and enforced, the socialist human rights mechanisms were fully established to make a big progress in promoting and protecting people’s freedom and rights.
(5) Consolidation of the Socialist Human Rights Mechanisms
① Adherence to the Socialist Human Rights Mechanisms
The fall of Berlin wall, the symbol of Cold War between the East and West in November 1989, led to the collapse of socialism in several countries of East Europe, and eventually the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The western countries described this event as the victory of bourgeois human rights system over socialist human rights system, and viciously undertook the anti-socialist human rights offensive as never before.
In particular, the US, wielding their human rights standard and concept of value, launched a frantic anti-socialist, anti-DPRK human rights campaign to orchestrate what was done in other countries in the DPRK that legally guarantees the independent rights of the popular masses.
The prevailing situation raised as an urgent task the issue of adhering to DPRK sovereignty and the socialist human rights mechanisms by further enhancing the functions and roles of laws to cope with the frantic anti-DPRK and anti-socialist manoeuvres of imperialists and reactionaries.
For this reason, the DPRK conducted the work of further strengthening the functions of people’s democratic dictatorship and increasing the nation’s defence capabilities in every way.
The important thing here is that the state structure has been turned into the one of attaching importance to national defence.
At the Third Session of the 9th Supreme People’s Assembly held in 1992, the Socialist Constitution was amended and supplemented for the first time to separate the national defence commission from the Central People’ Committee, and upgraded it to DPRK National Defence Commission and put it before the Central People’ Committee.
And the legal status of the National Defence Commission was stipulated to be the top military guidance organization of state power.
Since then, the supreme leadership of national defence exercised by the Central People’ Committee has been handed over to the DPRK National Defence Commission.
At the First Session of the 10th Supreme People’s Assembly held in 1998, the Socialist Constitution was again amended and supplemented to newly readjust and improve the state machinery as required by Songun era, and regulated the status of the national defence commission as the supreme military leading organization and the general national defence management organization.
Therefore, the legal status of the national defence commission has been enhanced as never before and the mechanism that legally guarantees the realization of Songun politics has been established.
After that, the Socialist Constitution was again amended to create the independent chapter ”Chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission” in which his legal status, term of office, duty and authority have been clearly regulated, and to declare that the political guidance system of the DPRK is the state machinery of attaching importance to national defence headed by the chairman of the national defence commission.
Such constitutional regulation of the machinery of attaching importance to the national defence has remained unchanged in the constitutional amendment in April, 2012 which regulated the first chairman of the national defence commission.
The overall regulation of machinery of increasing the national defence capabilities in the Socialist Constitution has provided the firm machinery and legal guarantee which can strengthen the national defence capabilities against the US military manoeuvres to stifle DPRK and maintain and develop the human rights law system.
Along with the establishment of state machinery of attaching importance to the national defence commission through the Socialist Constitution, the DPRK conducted the work of enacting and enforcing the legislation to further strengthen the struggle against anti-socialist and anti-revolutionary crimes and to overcome the non-socialist practices.
The DPRK adopted the ”DPRK Criminal Law” as a decision No. 6 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on December 15, 1990.
New criminal law of the DPRK further strengthened the struggle against the anti-socialist crimes in keeping with the new conditions and environment of prevailing situation and class struggle.
As a result, the DPRK waged an intensive legal struggle against all sorts of hostile elements that were attempting to allure people to the world of degeneration, dissoluteness and crimes, and to overthrow the socialist system in the end.
And it further strengthened the struggle against the non-socialist practices such as illegalities and corruptions, delinquent behaviours, gambling taking place in the country, while thoroughly frustrating the ideological and cultural infiltrations and psychological smear campaign of the US to ideologically disrupt the country from within.
With these legal measures, the DPRK could foil the anti-DPRK, anti-socialist manoeuvres of the US and its followers defend and adhere to the socialist human rights mechanisms and give full play to its advantage.
② Full-fledged Mechanism of the Socialist Human Rights
The DPRK not only defended the socialist human rights mechanisms but also dynamically pushed ahead the work of improving and perfecting according to the people’s independent demands and developing reality.
The work of perfecting the socialist human rights system was mainly conducted in the way of enacting the new sectoral human rights laws or revising and supplementing some regulations.
The sectoral laws, the main contents of which were about satisfying the people’s material and cultural demands, were enacted in the way of regulating the new human rights fields and enriching the contents of existing human rights law system.
Several laws such as the Medical Care Law (December 1997) were enacted and enforced so that the people could enjoy medical treatment of preventing diseases, relieved from the worries of flood and disease, under the free medical care system, and live in a more hygienic living conditions.
Several laws on the legal protection of the rights of individuals who has contributed to the development of science and technology such as the Invention Law(May, 1998) were enacted and enforced to successfully establish the legal system of guaranteeing the intellectual property rights, one of the main contents in the international guarantee of human rights.
The Law on Work Norms (December, 2009) and the Law on the Labour Protection (July, 2010), further detailed Socialist Labour Law, were enacted and enforced as independent laws so that they could realize exact labour remuneration according to its quality and quantity, provide safer and more hygienic and cultural working conditions to the working people, and creditably protect and promote their life and health.
By adopting the law on the universal 12-year compulsory education system in November 2012 and codifying it in the Socialist Constitution and the related, all students could acquire the general basic knowledge and modern technical knowledge, and the secondary general education could be further completed.
The enactment and enforcement of several laws such as the Law on the Protection of the Elderly (April, 2007) ensured the legal and smooth settlement of the issue of guaranteeing the rights of the specific group, an important component of the human rights mechanisms.
Together with the enactment and enforcement of sectoral human rights laws, the revision and supplement of existing human rights laws was actively pushed forward.
From the mid-1990’s, many human rights laws were revised and supplemented in reflection of the changing reality and people’s growing demands for human rights under the slogan ”Serve the People”.
Many human rights laws were revised and supplemented in 1999 alone.
The human rights mechanisms of the DPRK which have been formed and developed in the 70-year-long history is a superior system that thoroughly and practically guarantees the people’s human rights in all fields of social life including politics, economy and culture.
The formation and development process of the human rights mechanisms in the DPRK have following characteristics: it has embodied the Juche character and national identity and has been formed and developed in reflection of the people’s independent desire and demands, the socialist nature has been strengthened in its composition and whole contents, and it has become more concretized in detail in keeping with the development of social life, and developed in the way of further guaranteeing its realization.
The human rights mechanisms are a great result of the efforts of the Korean people as masters, and at the same time, the precious wealth that cannot be ruined as it has deeply rooted in the life of Korean people as their destinies.
4) Human Rights Mechanisms in the DPRK
Human rights, which are guaranteed and realized in each state as a unit, call for the well-organized legal and organizational guarantee of the state.
The well-regulated legal and organizational system in the DPRK defends guarantees and promotes the human rights, the independent rights of the popular masses, on the basis of Juche idea, the genuine idea of defending human rights.
The human rights mechanisms established in DPRK consist of the Constitution and its human rights law system, the mechanism for the ensurance of human rights, and the system of human rights education at large.
(1) Ensurance of Human Rights by the Constitution
The Socialist Constitution of the DPRK widely regulates the state management principles in the fields of politics, economy, culture to defend and promote the human rights, the independent rights of the people, the basic rights and obligations to be possessed and exercised by the citizens, and the state mechanism that guarantees their realization.
The Constitution serves as the fundamental state law that gives the direction and standards in the framing of laws and regulations related to human rights.
① Adoption and Amendment Procedure of the Socialist Constitution
The first constitution of DPRK was first adopted at the First Session of the Supreme People’s Assembly on September 8, 1948, and it was the people’s democratic constitution.
The Socialist Constitution of DPRK was adopted at the First Session of the Fifth Supreme People’s Assembly on December 27, 1972.
The constitution adopted in 1972 reflected the achievements gained in the DPRK socialist revolution and construction, and formed a system (11 chapters, 149 articles) of regulations on the fundamental principles to be adhered to in the field of politics, economy, and culture, the basic rights and duties of citizens, the composition and missions of state organs in the socialist society.
The constitution adopted in 1972 was amended and supplemented to have seven chapters and 171 articles at the Third Session of the Ninth Supreme People’s Assembly on April 9, 1992, to have the preamble, seven chapters and 166 articles at the First Session of the Tenth Supreme People’s Assembly on September 5, 1998, and to have the preamble, seven chapters and 172 articles at the First Session of the Twelfth Supreme People’s Assembly on April 9, 2009.
Afterwards, it was again amended and supplemented at the Second Session of the Twelfth Supreme People’s Assembly on April 9, 2010, at the Fifth Session of the Twelfth Supreme People’s Assembly on April 13, 2012, and at the Seventh Session of the Twelfth Supreme People’s Assembly on April 1, 2013.
The existing DPRK Socialist Constitution, which was amended and supplemented several times in keeping with the requirements of changed circumstance and developing reality, consists of preamble, Chapter 1 Politics (Articles 1~18), Chapter 2 Economy (Articles 19~38),Chapter 3 Culture (Articles 39~57) Chapter4 Defence (Articles 58~61), Chapter 5 Basic rights and duties of citizens (Articles 62~86), Chapter 6 State mechanism(Articles 87~168), Chapter 7 National emblem, flag, anthem, capital(Articles 169~172).
The DPRK Socialist Constitution, as a people-oriented constitution possessed of peculiar system and content, serves as the firm legal guarantee in the work of accelerating the building of socialist thriving nation, realizing the independent and peaceful reunification of the country, developing the state relations, and defending and promoting the people’s human rights.
② Contents and Characteristics of Human Rights-related Provisions in the Socialist Constitution
* The state mechanisms regulated in the Socialist Constitution of the DPRK are on pages 53-56
─ Principles for Ensuring Human Rights
The Socialist Constitution, which regulates the state management principles in the field of politics, economy, culture and national defence from Chapter 1 to Chapter 4, basically set the principled matters including the policies, conditions, and measures for the guarantee of human rights in these chapters.
The typical examples in the field of politics are as follows.
The Sovereignty of the DPRK resides in the workers, peasants, working intellectuals and all other working people. The working people exercise power through their representative organs-the Supreme People’s Assembly and local People’s Assemblies at all levels. (Article 4)
The organs of State power at all levels, from the country People’s Assembly to the Supreme People’s Assembly, are elected on the principle of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot. (Article 6)
The social system of the DPRK is a people-centred system under which the working people are the masters of everything and everything in society serves the working people. The State shall defend and protect the interests of the workers, peasants, working intellectuals. (Article 8)
The DPRK shall champion the democratic national rights, of Koreans overseas and their rights recognized by the international law as well as their interests. (Article 15)
The DPRK shall guarantee the legal rights and interests of foreigners in its region. (Article 16)
The State shall promote unity with the world public defending independence and opposing all forms of aggression and interference. (Article 17, Paragraph 3)
The law of the DPRK reflects the wishes and interests of the working people and is a basic instrument of State administration.
Respect for the law and its strict adherence and execution is the duty of all institutions, enterprises, organizations and citizens.
The State shall perfect the system of socialist law and promote the socialist law-abiding life. (Article 18)
The completion of socialist legal system includes the one of legal system to guarantee human rights.
The typical examples in the field of economy are as follows.
The ownership of the state, social cooperative organizations and the individuals are regulated and protected. (Article 21, 22, 24)
The State shall protect private property and guarantee the right to inherit it by law. (Article 24, Paragraph 4)
The DPRK regards the steady improvement of the material and cultural standards of the people as the supreme principle of its activities.
The increasing material wealth of society in our country, where taxes have been abolished, is used entirely to promote the well-being of the working people.
The State shall provide all working people with every condition for obtaining food, clothing and housing. (Article 25)
Working people should be freed from difficult, tiresome labour and to narrow down the distinctions between physical and mental labour. (Article 27, Paragraph 2).
The State shall undertake, at its own expense, the building of production facilities for the cooperative farms and modern houses in the countryside. (Article 28, Paragraph 2)
Labour in the DPRK is the independent and creative labour of the working people, freed from exploitation and oppression. (Article 29, Paragraph 2)
The working day shall be eight hours. The length of the working day shall be reduced by the State in arduous trades and other special categories of work. (Article 30, Paragraph 1, 2)
In the DPRK, the minimum working age is 16 years (Article 31)
The national economy of the DPRK is a planned economy. The State shall draw up and implement the plans for the development of national economy in accordance with the laws of socialist economic development so that the balance of accumulation and consumption can be maintained correctly, economic construction accelerated, the people’s living standards steadily raised and the nation’s defence capability strengthened. (Article 34, Paragraph 2)
The typical examples in the field of culture are as follows.
The DPRK shall make the whole of society intellectual. (Article 40)
In building a socialist national culture, the State shall oppose the cultural infiltration of imperialism and any tendency to return to the past, protect its national cultural heritage, and develop it in keeping with the existing socialist situation. (Article 41, Paragraph 2)
The State shall develop universal compulsory 12-year education. (Article 45)
The State shall train competent technicians and experts by enhancing the regular educational system as well as different forms of study while working. (Article 46)
The State shall provide education to all pupils and students free of charge and grant allowances to students of universities and colleges. (Article 47)
The State shall maintain all children of preschool age in crèches and kindergartens at State and public expenses. (Article 49)
The State shall provide sufficient modern cultural facilities. (Article 53)
The State shall protect people’s lives and improve the working people’s health by consolidating and developing the system of universal free medical service and improving the district doctor system and the system of preventive medicine. (Article 56)
The State shall adopt measures to protect the environment in preference to production, preserve and promote the natural environment and prevent environmental pollution so as to provide the people with a hygienic environment and working conditions. (Article 57)
The mission of the armed forces of the DPRK is to safeguard the interests of the working people, to defend the socialist system and the gains of the revolution from aggression and to protect the freedom, independence and peace of the country. (Article 59)
If these constitutional regulations (typical examples were given) are put together, they provide visual evidence how concrete, realistic, and wonderful policies, conditions, and measures (some of them directly regulated the human rights) have been taken by DPRK, the people-centred socialist system.
And the situation of DPRK itself in which the genuine human rights are guaranteed proves the validity and their realization.
─ Basic Rights of Citizens Stipulated in the Constitution
The DPRK Socialist Constitution set an independent chapter and regulates the citizen’s basic rights.
It is divided into the political and civil rights, socio-economic and cultural rights, and the rights of specific group at large.
The political and civil rights are as follows:
The right to elect and be elected (Article 66)
The right to freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, demonstration and association. (Article 67)
The freedom of religious beliefs (Article 68)
The right of complaints and petitions (Article 69)
Inviolability of personal liberty and home and privacy of correspondence (Article 79)
The right of freedom of residence and travel (Article 75)
The right to protection of marriage and family (Article 78)
The socio-economic and cultural rights are as follows:
The right to work (Article 70)
The right to rest (Article 71)
The right to free medical care and social security (Article 72)
The right to education (Article 73)
The right to freedom in scientific, literary and artistic pursuits (Article 74)
The rights of specific groups are as follows:
The people who have made contributions to the country and people have the right to special care of the state and society (Article 76)
Equal social status and rights with men (Article 77, Paragraph 1)
The right of mothers and children to get special protection. (Article 77, Paragraph 2)
The DPRK shall grant the right of asylum to foreign nationals persecuted for struggling peace and democracy, national independence and socialism or for the freedom of scientific and cultural pursuits. (Article 80)
─ Characteristics of Basic Rights Stipulated in the Constitution
Citizen’s basic rights regulated in the Socialist Constitution have its inherent characteristics that are distinguished from the other countries’ constitutions.
In the first place, it is the concrete rights that should be possessed and exercised in all fields of state and social life.
As mentioned above, the rights in the Constitution mainly included the rights that should be possessed and exercised by the citizens in all field of social life including politics, economy, and culture.
At the same time, the concrete and principled problems in the guarantee and exercise of every right have been defined.
For example, unlike the constitutions of other countries which gives general definitions to the right to elect, the Article 66 of DPR Korea’s constitution regulates as follows: all the citizens who have reached the age of 17 have the right to elect and be elected, irrespective of sex, race, occupation, length of residence, property status, education, party affiliation, political views or religion; the citizens serving in the armed forces also have the right to elect and to be elected. A person who has been disenfranchised by a Court decision and a person legally certified insane do not have the right to elect or to be elected.
For another example, Article 70 of the constitution regulates as follows: the citizens have the right to work; all able-bodied citizens choose occupations in accordance with their wishes and skills and provided with stable jobs and working conditions. Citizens work according to their abilities and are paid in accordance with the quantity and quality of their work.
And these rights are equally and practically provided to every body.
Human rights, in detail, are granted, guaranteed, and protected by the state law.
The regulation of citizen’s basic rights by the Socialist Constitution of the DPRK means that the state has granted such rights to all the citizens, and it has the basic legal guarantee to practically provide such rights.
The Socialist Constitution that reflects the independent desire and demand of the entire people, the masters of state and society, is the law adopted by their unanimous will.
Therefore, the basic rights regulated in the Socialist Constitution are equally and practically granted and provided to anybody if he/she is a citizen of DPR Korea.
The Paragraph 1, Article 64 of the DPRK Socialist Constitution clearly regulates that the state shall effectively guarantee genuine democratic rights and liberties as well as the material and cultural well-being of all its citizens.
And in the next place, these rights are constantly extended with the consolidation and development of the socialist system.
The range and content of the citizen’s basic rights regulated in the Constitution are further extended by the DPRK government’s consistent policy, provision of conditions, and measures to protect and promote the human rights.
For example, the right to enjoy the benefit of social security services is further guaranteed by the free medical care system and the increasing number of hospitals and sanatoriums, and the citizen’s right to get education is further extended thanks to the development of advanced educational system and the people-oriented educational policy.
To mention other examples, the rights of mothers and children to get special protection are further guaranteed and extended by the increasing network of nurseries and kindergartens, and other policies.
Such contents themselves are included in the articles and clauses of the constitution (for example; Article 72, Article 77) that regulate the citizen’s basic rights , and the Paragraph 2, Article 64, regulates that in the DPRK, the rights and freedom of citizens shall be amplified with the consolidation and development of the socialist system.
(2) The System of Human Rights Laws
The well-organized law system is established in DPRK to guarantee the people’s human rights.
① Laws on the State Power
Included in this group of laws are the election laws of deputies to the people’s assembly at all levels, the laws on the local power organs, nationality law, the law on complaints and petition and so on.
The DPRK election law of deputies to the people’s assembly at all levels, which regulated the principles, procedures, and methods to be kept in this regard was adopted by Decision No. 24 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on October 7, 1992, and was revised and supplemented in 1998 and in 2010.
This law is the people-oriented election law which contributes to giving free scope to socialist democracy in the election and making people the masters of power organs.
The DPRK law on the local power organs, the purpose of which is to provide people with genuine democratic rights, freedom and happy material and cultural life by strengthening the local power organs and enhancing their functions and roles, was adopted by Decision No. 12 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on December 19, 1974, and was revised and supplemented 5 times.
The DPRK nationality law, which regulates the terms (acquisition, change and renouncing of nationality) for becoming DPRK Citizen, contributes to guaranteeing the legal status of DPRK citizens, especially those overseas, and protecting and promoting their rights.
This law was adopted by Decree No. 242 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on October 9, 1963, and was revised and supplemented in 1995, and in 1999.
The DPRK law on complaints and petitions, which, on the basis of the relevant article of the Constitution, regulates the submission, acceptance and registration of complaints and petitions of the citizens and state organs, the principles, procedures, and methods to be followed in the inquiry and settlement was adopted by Decision No. 120 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on June 17, 1998 and was revised and supplemented 3 times.
The system of complaints and petitions established in the DPRK by virtue of this law is a democratic system for improving and strengthening the work of state organs and officials by protecting the working people’ s rights and actively drawing them into the state administration.
② Criminal laws
Included in the group of laws to guarantee the rights in the field of criminal affairs are the criminal law, criminal procedure law and so on.
The DPRK criminal law (adopted by Decision No. 6 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on December 15, 1990 and revised and supplemented 5 times contributes to defending the power of the State and the socialist system and guaranteeing human rights by instituting a system of penal responsibility and punishment for crimes.
In the DPRK crimes are punishable, dangerous acts which violate the power of the state, socialist system and law and order whether intentionally or unintentionally. (Criminal law, Article 10)The basic penalties are death penalty, reform through labour for an indefinite period, reform through labour for a definite period and disciplining through labour. And additional penalties are deprivation of the right to vote, confiscation of property, fine, deprivation of a licence and suspension of a license.(Criminal law, Article 27, Paragraph 28)
The DPRK criminal procedure law (adopted by Decision No. 12 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on January 15, 1992 and revised and supplemented 3 times) which contributes to accurately dealing with and disposing of criminal cases by establishing a strict system and order in investigation, preliminary examination, prosecution and trial plays a big role in protecting and guaranteeing human rights in the handling and settlement of cases.
③ Civil Laws
The laws to guarantee civil rights are the civil law, civil procedure law, family law, inheritance law, damage compensation law, and so on.
The DPRK civil law (adopted by Decision No. 4 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on September 5, 1990, and revised and supplemented 3 times) which regulates the equal and independent property transactions of the parties concerned (institutions, enterprises, organizations, citizens) provides legal guarantee for consolidating the socialist economic system and material and technical foundations, and satisfying the people’s material and cultural demands.
* In the DPRK, civil matters were, at first, governed by legal documents, which were later developed into provisional civil regulations in December 1982, then into civil regulations in January 1986 and finally into civil law in 1990.
One of the main principles stipulated in this law is that institutions, enterprises and organizations should, when conducting transactions with citizens, pay close attention to ensuring that policies of the State for the promotion of people’s welfare reach the working people. (Civil laws, Article 6)
The DPRK civil procedure law (adopted by Decision No. 18 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on January 10, and revised and supplemented 7 times) contributes to protecting the civil rights and interests of the institutions, enterprises, organizations and citizens in.
The DPRK family law (adopted by Decision No. 5 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on October 24, 1990, and revised and supplemented 4 times) contributes to protecting the marriage and family and turning the whole society into a large harmonious and united socialist family.
The family law provides for the main principles for the protection of marriage and family, and regulates the issues of marriage, family, guardianship, inheritance, and sanctions.
The DPRK inheritance law (adopted by Decree No. 2882 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on March 13, 2002) which regulates the principles and orders to be kept in the execution of inheritance and donation guarantees the correct settlement of inheritance issues and the citizen’s rights related to inheritance.
It is the consistent policy of the DPRK to protect the individual’s properties.
Therefore, the rights to inherit individual’s properties are fully guaranteed.
The DPRK damage compensation law (adopted by Decree No. 2513 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on October 22, 2001, and revised and supplemented in 2005) provides for matters related to the protection of civil rights and interests of the institutions, enterprises, organizations, and citizens by establishing strict system and order in the damage compensation caused by infringement upon person or properties.
Compensation for bodily injury is made for the damage caused through injuring the health or life of a person, as well as in case where a person’s freedom is restricted or mental anguish is inflicted through impairing his dignity or honour. (Damage Compensation Law, Article 40.)
④ Judiciary-related Laws
This group includes such laws as the law on the establishment of tribunals, law of lawyers, and the notary public law.
The DPRK law on the establishment of tribunals, the purpose of which is to ensure proper examination and settlement of criminal and civil cases and guarantee individual’s right to fair trial by establishing strict system and order in the establishment of tribunals was adopted by Decision No. 19 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on January 10, 1976, and revised and supplemented four times.
The DPRK lawyers law, the purpose of which is to protect legal rights and interests of the institutions, enterprises, organizations and citizens and guarantee the correct enforcement of laws through the enhancing of the roles of lawyers, was adopted by Decision No. 43 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on December 23, 1993.
In the DPRK, lawyers protect human rights through defence and legal assistance, as well as the legal system of the state.(Lawyer Law, Article 2)Institutions, enterprises, organizations, and citizens are provided with rights to free choice of defence counsel in carrying out the litigation and legal action.
The DPRK notary public law, which regulates the procedures and methods of providing truthful authentication of facts and documents of legal significance, was adopted by Decision No. 51 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on February 2, 1995, and revised and supplemented in 2004.
By virtue of this law, the civil rights and interests of the institutions, enterprises, organizations and citizens are protected, and the security of civil transactions is guaranteed.
⑤ People’s Security Laws
Included in this group of laws are the citizen’s registration laws, road traffic law and so on.
DPRK citizen’s registration law, which regulates the system and order of tracking and registering the changes in citizen’s identities caused by birth, residence, renouncing, death, acquisition or renouncing of nationality on a nationwide scale, serves as a powerful tool in protecting the socialist family relationship, citizen’s rights and interests, and strengthening the population administration work.
The Citizens’ Registration is Law was adopted by Decision No. 102 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on November 26, 1997, and revised and supplemented 3 times.
The registration of citizens is done by the people’s security organs in the residential area concerned. (Citizens’ Registration Law, Article 3)
The citizen’s certificate (Pyongyang citizenship in case of Pyongyang citizen) is an official identity document that proves the citizenship of DPRK.
If a citizen who has renounced a certain nationality and acquired DPRK nationality wants to reside in the DPRK, citizen’s registration must be made. (Article 5)
The DPRK road traffic law, which regulates the principles and orders to be kept in the control of road traffic signals, management of safety arrangements, passing of pedestrians and vehicles, contributes to protecting the people’s lives and ensuring safety in the road traffic.
This law was adopted by Decree No. 709 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on October 6, 2004, and revised and supplemented 4 times.
This law is applicable to foreign missions, enterprises, individuals that use the roads in the DPRK. (Road traffic law, Article 6)
Guidance of the road traffic work is provided by the central people’s security organs and other relevant organs under the unified guidance of the Cabinet. (Article 69)
Institutions, enterprises and organizations concerned must set up Traffic Safety Education Room and conduct practical education work on the road traffic safety, hold the drivers’ meetings, Day of Overhaul and Inspection and Day of Preventive Measure for Accident on a regular basis. (Article 73)
⑥ Labour Laws
Included in this group of laws are the Socialist Labour Law, Labour Protection Law, and the Law on the Work Norms.
The DPRK Socialist Labour Law, which comprehensively systematizes the working people’s socialist working life and relations, was adopted by Decree No. 2 of the Supreme People’s Assembly on April 18, 1978, and revised in 1986 and in 1999.
This law, the basis of the DPRK’s labour-related laws, consists of several chapters, Chapter 1 being” fundamental principles of socialist labour”, Chapter 2 “Labour is the citizen’s noble duty”, Chapter 3 “Socialist Labour Organization”, Chapter 4 “Socialist distribution by the work accomplished”, Chapter 5 “Labour and technical revolution, improvement of working people’s technical skills”, Chapter 6 “Labour protection”, Chapter 7 “Labour and recreation”, and the Chapter 8 “State and social benefits for the working people”.
The working people in the DPRK work with enthusiasm and creative initiative for the prosperity of the country, for the people’s well-being and for their own welfare. (Socialist Labour Law, Article 1, para. 2)
Labour is based on the high awareness of the working people, the masters of state and society. (Article 6, para 1)
Under this law there has been established such labour-related legal systems as the compulsory labour, work hours , job allocation, labour use , technical skill improvement, labour protection, rest, social insurance, and social security.
The DPRK labour protection law, the purpose of which is to provide the safe, cultural and hygienic working conditions to the working people, protect and promote their lives and health, was adopted by Decree No. 945 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on July 8, 2010.
It is the intrinsic nature of the socialist system and the principled stand of DPRK that the State takes full responsibility for the protection of working people’s lives and protection of their health. (Labour Protection Law, Article 3, para. 1)
The DPRK work norms law, which regulates the principles and orders in the work norms, contributes to organizing labour in a scientific and reasonable manner, enhancing efficiency of labour and guaranteeing the working people’s right to get fair and equal remuneration for their work done.
This law was adopted by Decree No. 484 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on December 10, 2009.
⑦ Education and Public Health Laws
The laws concerning the protection and promotion of human rights in the fields of education and public health include the Law on Education, the Law on the Nursing Upbringing of Children, the Law on Public Health, the Law on Medical Care, the Communicable Diseases Prevention Law, the Food Hygiene Law, and Sanitation Law.
The Law of the DPRK on Education was enacted for the purpose of further improving the socialist education system and fully guaranteeing people’s rights to education. It was adopted by Decree No. 847 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on July 14, 1999 and amended and supplemented in 2005 and 2007.
The Law on Education provides for basic principles of education, the system of universal compulsory education, educational institutions and staff, contents and methods of education, provision of conditions for education and guidance and control over educational work.
On the basis of this law the Law on Higher Education was adopted on December 14, 2011 and the Law on Elementary Education on January 19, 2011.
The Law of the DPRK on Nursing and Upbringing of Children regulates the system and order of bringing up children as the future of the country and reserves of builders of socialism. It was adopted by the Decree No.7 of the Supreme People’s Assembly on 29 April 1976 and was amended and supplemented in 1999.
Bringing up children at the state and public expense is one of the main policies of the DPRK; it is an educational method based on socialist pedagogy. (Article 2, the Law on the Nursing and Upbringing of Children)
The DPRK takes every possible care so that all children may grow up happily wanting for nothing under the best, up-to-date conditions for their nursing and upbringing. This benefit is firmly guaranteed by the socialist system, the solid foundations of the independent national economy and the socialist policy, and will further increase with the strengthening of the country’s economic foundations.(Article 7, the Law on Educating and Upbringing Children)
The Law of the DPRK on Public Health regulates main principles of the Government in the field of public health such as consolidating and developing the system of preventive medicine, the system of complete and universal free medical care, protection through prevention, Juche-oriented medical science and technology, provision of materials to the work of public health, duties of public health institutions and staff and guidance and control over the work of public health. It was adopted by the Decree No.5 of the Supreme People’s Assembly on 3 April 1980 and was amended and supplemented four times.
The Law of the DPRK on Medical Treatment was enacted for the purpose of improving medical treatment and protecting and promoting people’s health by establishing strict system and order in medical activities. It was adopted by Decision No. 103 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on December 3 1997 and was amended and supplemented in 1998 and 2000.
The Law of the DPRK on Prevention of Communicable Diseases was adopted by Decision No. 100 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on 5 November 1997 and was amended and supplemented on two occasions. It is a legal instrument for establishing a strict order in tracing the source of infection, quarantine, blocking the trace of epidemics and vaccination, and thus eliminates infectious diseases and protects people’s life and health.
Food Hygiene Law of the DPRK is a basic law to protect and promote people’s health by ensuring food hygiene, which was adopted by the Resolution No. 124 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly and was later amended and supplemented four times.
The DPRK is taking measures to provide material and technical means for food hygiene and modernize them by increasing investment.
Sanitation Law of the DPRK (adopted by Decision No.123 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on 15 July 1998, amended in 1998) regulates the system and order in sanitation and contributes to protecting and promoting people’s health by providing sanitary living environment and conditions.
⑧ Laws on Public Service
The laws on protection and promotion of human rights in public service sector include Socialist Commerce Law, Food Administration Law and Dwelling Houses Law.
Socialist Commerce Law of the DPRK which was adopted by Decision No.13 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on 29 January 1992 and was amended and supplemented five times stipulates principles and order to be followed in commercial activities such as commodity circulation and public welfare
Socialist commerce is, in essence, the work to supply goods to people and satisfy their material and cultural demands.
The characteristics of the socialist commerce lies in that it promotes welfare of working people, accommodates convenience in their lives, narrows the distinctions between urban and rural areas highly organized and systemized and that its profits are accumulated for promoting people’s welfare and for socialist expanded reproduction.
Food Administration Law of the DPRK provides for the principles and order of procurement, storage, processing and distribution of grains including food for people’s diet and contributes to improving people’s livelihood and food administration. It was adopted by Decision No.84 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on February 19, 1997 and was later amended and supplemented three times.
The DPRK ensures that a proper system of food administration is put in place for unified control and planned consumption of grains.
The Dwelling Houses Law of the DPRK regulates issues concerning the construction, transfer, receipt, registration, allocation, usage and maintenance of dwelling houses, providing legal guarantee for stable and civilized living conditions of the people. It was adopted by Decree No.3051 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on 21 January 2009 and was amended and supplemented twice.
In the DPRK dwelling houses are categorized into State, Cooperative and private properties according to the type of ownership (Para. 1, Article 2 of Dwelling Houses Law) and the State provides legal protection for the ownership and usage of dwelling houses. (Para. 2, Article 1 of Dwelling Law)
⑨ Laws on Protecting Intellectual Property Rights
Laws on protection and promotion human rights in the field of intellectual properties include the Copyright Law, Invention Law, Industrial Design Law, Trademark Law and the Computer Software Copyright Law.
Copyright Law of the DPRK regulates matters concerning the utilization of literary works and thus protects the rights of the authors and promotes the development of art and literature and science and technology. It was adopted by Decree No.2141 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on 21 March 2001 and was amended and supplemented in 2006.
The protection of copyright is a consistent policy of the DPRK. The DPRK ensures that the authorship of the writers is ensured and the rights of the copyright holders are protected. (Article 2 of Copyright Law)
The copyright of a legal person or an individual whose country is a party to a treaty to which the DPRK is also a party is protected by the treaty. However, where a legal person or an individual whose country is not a party to the same treaty makes public his works for the first time in the DPRK, – the works are protected by the above law. (Article 5 of Copyright Law)
The Law of the DPRK on Inventions regulates specific matters concerning the application for the registration of an invention, the examination of an invention for registration and protection of invention and patent rights. It was adopted by Resolution No.112 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on 13 May 1998 and was amended and supplemented in 1999 and 2011.
The DPRK takes measures to actively promote inventions and ensure steady increase in the investment for the development and application of new science and technology. (Article 6 of Invention Law)
Institutions, enterprises and organizations and citizens in the DPRK may apply to foreign countries for the patent of a new scientific or technological achievement. (Para. 1, Article 22 of Invention Law)
The Law of the DPRK on Industrial Design (adopted by Decision No.117 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on 3 June 1998 and later amended and supplemented three times) regulates issues on the application for the registration of an Industrial design, examination and the protection of the right thereto. The Law of the DPRK on Trademark (adopted by Decision No.106 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on 14 January 1998 and later amended and supplemented five times) regulates issues on the application for the registration of a trademark, examination and protection of the trademark right.
The Law of the DPRK on the Protection of Computer Software (adopted by Decree No.3831 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly) regulates issues on the protection of the rights of a copyright holder of software and the development of the software technology.
⑩ Laws on Social Welfare
Included in this group of laws are Social Security Law, the Law on Protection of the Elderly, the Law on Protection of Persons with Disabilities, Law on Protection of Child’s Rights, Law on Protection of Women’s Rights and Red Cross Society Law.
The Law of the DPRK on Social Security was adopted by Decree No.2513 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on January 9, 2008 and amended and supplemented twice. The Social Security Law is a powerful legal instrument for protecting people’s health and providing them with stable and happy living environment and conditions.
The Law of the DPRK on Protection of the Elderly was adopted by Decree No. 2214 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on 26 April 2007 and was amended and supplemented twice. Under this Law, the rights and interests of the elderly are guaranteed and their desire to lead a fruitful and happy life in mentally and physically good health is fully met.
The Law of the DPRK on Protection of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by Decree No.3835 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on 18 June 2003 and was amended and supplemented in 2013. It contributes to providing more favourable living environment and conditions to persons with disabilities.
The Law of the DPRK on the Protection of Child’s Rights stipulates issues on guaranteeing child’s rights and interests to the full in all fields including social life, education, public health, family and administration of justice. It was adopted by Decree No.1307 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on 22 December 2010.
The Law of the DPRK on Protection of Women’s Rights comprehensively provides for the rights of women. It was adopted by Decree No.1309 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on December 22, 2010 and was amended and supplemented in 2011.
This Law provides for basic principles of protecting women’s rights, socio-political rights, rights to education, culture and public health, rights to work, personal and property rights, and rights to marriage and family rights and so on.
The Law of the DPRK on Red Cross Society contributes to protecting people’s lives and properties from various kinds of diseases and disasters and promoting their health and welfare. It was adopted by Decree 2113 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on 10 January 2007.
⑪ Laws on the Protection of the Environment
Laws on the Protection of the Environment relating to the protection and promotion of human rights include Environmental Conservation Law, Water Resources Law and Prevention of Radioactive Pollution Law.
The Laws on Environmental regulates issues on the conservation of the environment. It was adopted by Decree No.5 of the Supreme People’s Assembly on April 9, 1986 and was amended and supplemented on five occasions.
The State shall always show close concern for protecting and managing the environment so as to provide the people with a healthy environment and hygienic working conditions. (Para. 2, Article 1, Laws on Environment)
The State shall adopt measures to consolidate the success achieved in the protection and management of the environment and to improve environmental protection and management in step with the modernization of industry and of other economic sectors, and shall increase investment systematically as required in implementing the measures. (Article 2, Laws on Environment)
Adopting measures for preventing environmental pollution prior to beginning production and construction is an important requirement for environmental protection. (Article 4)
The Law of the DPRK on Water Resources was enacted to ensure sufficient supply of water necessary for the development of national economy and people’s living by establishing a strict system and order in the research, development, conservation and utilization of water resources. It was adopted by Decision No.86 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on June 18, 1997 and was amended in 1999.
The Law of the DPRK on Prevention of Radioactive Pollution regulates issues on preventing radioactive pollution and protecting people’s lives and health and the environment. It was adopted by Decree No.1837 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on August 29, 2011.
This Law provides for basic principles for the prevention of radioactive pollution and regulates security management of radioactive substances and nuclear facilities, disposal of radioactive wastes and observation of environmental radioactivity, etc.
Laws on the Protection of the Environment relating to the protection and promotion of human rights also include the Land Law, the Forest Law, the Fluvial Law, Prevention of Sea Pollution Law, Prevention of Pollution of River Taedong Law, Treatment of Wastes Law, Protection of Useful Animals Law, Law on Disaster Prevention, Relief and Recovery and Law on Earthquake and Volcano Damage Prevention and Relief. The adoption of these laws shows that the DPRK is directing close attention to incorporating into its domestic laws such global issues of sustainable development as the rights to environment and development.
The above mentioned laws are only some of the DPRK’s basic laws for the protection and promotion of human rights in the specific fields and there are many more laws, implementing regulations and rules stipulated in more concrete terms..
* The above categorization of the human rights laws is based on initial study and, by no means, completes to have included the whole of the s the DPRK’s human rights laws. Moreover, some laws, though having relevance, were not given separate categorization.
(3) Organs for the Protection & Promotion of Human Rights
In the DPRK, a well-organized system is established for the protection and promotion of human rights.
① State Organs
The following state mechanisms will be reviewed only in respect of their human rights-related functions.
─ The Supreme People’s Assembly
The Supreme People’s Assembly, the highest power organ of the DPRK holds it as one of its important powers to adopt, amend or supplement the constitution and sector-specific laws, approve laws of major importance adopted by the Presidium, establish basic principles of human rights policy and appoint, elect or recall the Presidents of the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office and the Supreme Court.
The Bills Committee, which is a departmental committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly organizes and executes the work of instituting laws related to protection and promotion of human rights
─ The National Defence Commission
The National Defence Commission, the highest military leadership body of State power, holds the powers and duties such as establishing major policies to defend the sovereignty of the country and protect and promote human rights and carrying them out through its guidance over the whole armed forces and the work of defence upbuilding.
─ The Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly
The Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the highest power organ during the recess of the Supreme People’s Assembly, has the powers and duties such as conducting deliberations and adoptions of new human rights bills and draft regulations, and proposals for amendment- of existing human rights laws and regulations, supervising and enforcing the observance and execution of human rights laws by State institution and granting amnesty.
─ Cabinet, Commissions and Ministries
The Cabinet is the administrative and executive body of the highest State power and organ of overall State administration. The Cabinet Committee and Ministries are departmental executive bodies under the Cabinet and departmental administrative bodies at national level.
The Cabinet performs duties such as instituting or amending and supplementing regulations on State control for protection and promotion of human rights, inspecting and controlling its execution and taking measures for maintaining public order, protecting the properties and interests of social and cooperative organizations and guarantying the rights of citizens.
The Cabinet Committee and Ministries command and guide the work of protecting and promoting people’s human rights in their respective sectors (e.g. the Commission of Education in education sector and the Ministry of Public Health in public health sector)
─ People’s Assembly and People’s Committee at Local-level
In the DPRK, the People’s Assembly at local-level is a local power organ and the People’s Committee at local-level exercises power during the recess of the People’s Assembly and is an administrative and executive body of the local power.
The People’s Assembly at local-level performs duties such as taking measures for executing laws including the ones related to human rights and electing or recalling judges and people’s assessors of the local court. The People’s Committee at local-level performs duties such as executing statutes, resolutions and directives related to human rights and taking measures for protecting and promoting rights of citizens.
In this regard, the People’s Committee at local-level can be considered as an organ that is directly responsible for protecting and promoting human rights in the DPRK.
─ Public Prosecutors Office and Court
The Supreme Public Prosecutors Office of the DPRK, and the Public Prosecutors Offices at the Provincial, City/District County level and Special Prosecutors Office, through monitoring the execution of human rights law and regulation, prosecuting offenders of law including criminals and imposing legal sanctions on them, and the Supreme Court and the court at the Provincial, City/District County level through conducting trials protects the sovereignty of the Republic, the socialist system, State and cooperative properties, people’s rights as guaranteed by the Constitution and their lives and properties.
─ State Organs for International Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights
○ National Coordinating Committee for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
The National Coordinating Committee for the implementation of the CRC drafts and submits action plans to carry out State policy for implementing CRC. It was organized on April 28, 1999.
○ National Coordinating Committee for UNESCO
The National Coordinating Committee of the DPRK for UNESCO was formed with the purpose of comprehensively developing the cooperation with UNESCO in line with the Constitution of the Republic, UNESCO Charter and the Charter of the National Coordinating Committee adopted at the 20th Session of the UNESCO Conference.
National Coordinating Committee for UNESCO contributes to promoting mutual understanding between countries and peoples and defending peace and security of the world through international cooperation and exchange in the fields of education, science, culture and public information.
○ National Committee for UN Food and Agricultural Organization
National Committee for UN Food and Agricultural Organization formed on 28 January 1981 organizes and executes works as a member state of the UNFAO in close ties with the Organization.
○ The National Coordinating Committee for the Implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
The National Coordinating Committee for the Implementation of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women organizes and executes the works such as writing and presenting the report of the DPRK government for the implementation of the Convention. The National Coordinating Committee was formed on 29 August, 2001 and plays an important role in realizing the international cooperation for protecting and promoting women’s rights.
State organs for international cooperation in the field of human rights also include the National Coordinating Committee for UNFPA (founded on December 16, 1992), National Coordinating Committee for WFP (founded on April 26, 2006) and National Coordinating Committee for UNICEF (founded on June 6, 1985).
─ Other Human Rights Organs
○ Population Centre
The Population Centre was founded on July 11, 1985 as a scientific research institution specializing on population census and data analysis required in formulating population policy and development plan of national economy.
The Population Centre studies and analyses population data to be integrated into the development plan of national economy and provides to relevant state organs. The Centre also develops population study, trains population experts and collaborates with international organizations related to population.
The Centre, from the early days of its foundation, has been receiving UNFPA assistance and became a member of CICRED in 1991. The Centre publishes periodicals including newspaper “Population Information” and the magazine “DPRK Population Centre Bulletin”.
○ Institute of Child Nutrition
Founded on May 15, 1984, the Institute of Child Nutrition conducts research and develops therapeutic food for children including milk substitutes, surveys the status of children’s nutrition and growth, sets the standard for rational caloric intake, assesses the food safety and studies preventive treatment for nutrition-related diseases.
② Social and Non-governmental Human Rights Organizations
Social and Non-Governmental human rights organizations in the DPRK independently perform activities for the study, protection and promotion of human rights of specific group or in certain fields. They can be categorized into human rights organizations of specific group and those of diverse missions.
─Human Rights Organizations of Specific Group
Human rights organizations of specific group are such as Women’s Union, Youth League, Trade Union, Union of Agricultural Working People, the Federation for Protection of Persons with Disabilities and the Federation for Protection of the Elderly.
○ Korean Democratic Women’s Union
The Korean Democratic Women’s Union is an organization for the promotion of women’s position and role and protection and promotion of their rights in the socialist construction. It was founded as the Democratic Women’s Union of north Korea on November 18, 1945 and was renamed as the Korean Democratic Women’s Union as the Unions in the North and the South merged into one on January 20, 1951.
The Democratic Women’s Union, from day one till now, has been playing an important role in the work of empowering women to take the position as the masters of the State and the society and exercise their legitimate rights. Thanks to the role of the Union, great successes were made in realizing gender equality, abolishing illiteracy and actively pushing forward cultural enlightenment among women and promoting women’s participation in social affairs and socio-political activities.
The Korean Democratic Women’s Union publishes its organ “Korean Women”. It joined the International Democratic Women’s Union in October 1946.
○ Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League
Protecting and promoting the rights of youth is one of the major purpose of Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League. The League was founded as the Democratic Youth League of north Korea on January 17, 1946 in Pyongyang and was renamed as the Korean Socialist League of Working Youth on May 12, 1964 and as the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League on 19 January 1996.
The Central Committee of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League publishes “Chongnyonjonwi”, “Saenal” and “Sonyonsinmun” as its organs and “Youth Life”, “Student” and “New Generation” as its magazines.
○ General Association of Trade Unions of Korea
The General Association of Trade Unions of Korea is an organization one of whose major mandate is protecting and promoting democratic freedom and rights of working class. It actively contributes to making the working class fully perform its role in the socialist construction and protecting and prompting their rights
The General Association of Trade Unions of Korea was founded as the General Federation of Trade Unions of north Korea on November 30, 1945 and was renamed as of present in January 1951 when the Associations of the North and the South was merged into one.
The Central Committee of the General Association of Trade Unions of Korea publishes its organ “Rodongjasinmun” and its magazine “Worker”. It joined the World Federation of Trade Unions in May 1947 and is strengthening the international cooperation and solidarity in the field of guarantying the rights of the working class.
○ Union of Agricultural Working People of Korea
The Union of Agricultural Working People of Korea is an organization of socialist rural working people. Protecting and realizing agricultural working people’s democratic freedom and rights is one of the major purposes of its activities.
The Union was formed in March 1965 and its predecessor is the Federation of Farmers’ Union of north Korea founded on January 31, 1946.
The Central Committee of the Union publishes “Nongopguloja” as its organ and “Agricultural Working People” as its magazine.
○ Korean Federation for Protection of Persons with Disabilities
Korean Federation for Protection of Persons with Disabilities was founded as the Korean Association for Aiding Persons with Disabilities and its status was raised as of present on 27 July 2005.
The Korean Federation for Protection of Persons with Disabilities as a non-governmental organization for the protection of persons with disabilities has the mission of protecting and advocating every rights and interests of persons with disabilities. Its major mandate is to contribute to restoring the mental and physical abilities of the persons with disabilities, creating the environment of zero-disability, prevention of disabilities and securing social position of the persons with disabilities through activities of supporting and protecting them and publishing and advocating for them, and thus make them fully perform their role as the masters of society and the collective.
The Federation consists of the Assembly and committees at national, Provincial, County, and Institution levels.
The Federation carries out the work of protecting persons with disabilities in cooperative relations with State organs such as the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Education and Ministry of City Management and actively engages itself in cooperation with international organizations for protection of persons with disabilities and EU countries as well.
○ Korean Federation for Protection of the Elderly
The Korean Federation for Protection of the Elderly was founded on 30 April 2003 as the Korean Association for Assisting the Elderly and was renamed as of today in 2006.
Its mission is to protect and promote the rights and interests of the elderly and make them lead fruitful and happy lives in mentally and physically good health.
The Federation consists of committees at national, provincial, city and county levels.
The important features of the work of the Federation are promoting the elderly’s health and their participation in social activities and helping them with the problems in their living through nation-wide protection of the elderly and addressing important issues on protection of the elderly by reflecting them in state policies.
─ Human Rights Organizations of Specific Activities
Human Rights Organizations of Diverse Missions include Population Study Association, Education Support Fund, Measure Committee for the Victims of Sexual Slavery of the Japanese Army and Forcible Drafting, Red Cross Society, Lawyers’ Society, Democratic Lawyers’ Association, Family, Maternity and Infant Health Association.
○ DPRK Association for Human Rights Studies
The Association was founded as a non-governmental human rights organization on August 27, 1992 under the approval of the State.
The Association has the mandate of studying overall issues on protecting and promoting human rights in the DPRK, making proposals to government organs on measures to guarantee human rights and carrying out research work on the international system of protecting and promoting human rights.
The important features of its activities are conducting surveys and research on the human rights situation in the DPRK and implementation of international human rights treaties and arousing public opinions to carry out investigations on criminal acts of foreign forces violating Korean people’s human rights and take measures against them.
The Association involves one hundred and scores of law persons, lawyers, law enforcers and population experts.
The activities of the Association are carried out according to the system of collective discussion. The Association consists of Assembly, Committee and Executive Committee. Its financial resources are membership dues, supporting contributions from social institutions and donations from individuals.
○ Korea Education Fund
The Korea Education Fund (or the Education Fund) was established on 26 January 2005.
The mission of the Education Fund is to strengthen the financial and material support to education to enhance its level in order to actively contribute to providing excellent conditions for the education of coming generations to meet the requirements of the developing era of today.
Voluntary contributions of good faith out of respect for the mission of the Education Fund can be made in any form or method regardless of the contributor’s nationality, race, political view and religious faith.
Education Fund is channelled into covering the shortage of stationeries and materials and instruments for education, improving the infra-structure of educational facilities and conditions for lecture and training able and competent personnel.
○ Korean Measure Committee for the Victims of Sexual Slavery of the Japanese Army and Forcible Drafting
The Korean Measure Committee for the Victims of Sexual Slavery of the Japanese Army and Forcible Drafting (KMC) was established in 1992 with the mission of probing the detailed truth of the barbarous criminal acts committed by Japan against Korean people and carrying out activities in demand of complete apology and reparation.
The Committee investigates the victims and the scope of damage of all the immoral crimes committed by the Japanese Imperialism when they illegally occupied Korea by force of arms including forcible drafting and forced labour, sexual slavery for the Japanese army, mass killing and so on.
It wages activities to let the coming generations and the whole society know about the truth of the barbarous crimes committed by Japan in the past and correct the history.
It also carries out works to identify the abandoned remains of Korean victims of forcible drafting in Japan, look for their bereaved families and support the victims of Japan’s crime of forcible drafting, forced labour and sexual slavery.
The Committee is vigorously conducting international solidarity action in league with human rights organizations around the world and organizations and individuals of countries that suffered from the past crimes of Japan to arouse the public opinion and demand for the proper settlement of the past by Japan.
○ The DPRK Red Cross Society
The DPRK Red Cross Society (founded on 18 October 1946 as the Red Cross Society of north Korea and renamed as Korea Red Cross Society in December, 1948) conducts activities, not only at the time of armed conflicts, but also at the time of peace such as protecting human life and health from the natural disasters.
The Korea Red Cross Society consists of committees at Central, provincial, city and county levels. The Korea Red Cross Society actively engages itself in cooperation with International Committee of Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent and national Red Cross organizations of several countries.
○ Korean Lawyers’ Society
The Korean Lawyers’ Society founded on 19 November 1945 is an organization of lawyers and has sub-committees at the national, provincial and relevant sector level.
The committee consists of the Chairperson, Secretary General and members.
The Committees work includes explaining the laws and regulation of the country to the people and providing assistance to them in law observance, supporting the court to make a fair judgment and protect the legal rights and interests of the examinee or the accused when presenting itself as a defence counsel in a criminal case at the request of the examinee or the accused by probing the truth and providing accurate analysis and assessment on the case.
At the same time, the Committee performs the duties of process attorney, civil procedure attorney and legal adviser upon the authorization of an organ, a firm, an organization or a citizen, conducts legal consultation and formulation and deliberation of the document of legal nature at the request of an organ, a firm, an organization or a citizen. It also works to develop the cooperation and exchange with lawyers’ organization of other countries.
○ Democratic Lawyers’ Association of Korea
The Democratic Lawyers’ Association of Korea was founded on 30 November 1954 with the mission of defending and implementing the DPRK Government’s ideology and policy on law and strengthening and developing the law system of the Republic including the Human Rights Law System.
It also keeps contact and mutually cooperates with other international and national organization of lawyers of progressive nature including the international Democratic Lawyers’ Association.
○ Family Plan, Maternity and Infant Health Association of Korea
The mission of the Family Plan, Maternity and Infant Health Association of Korea is to advocate the DPRK’s policy on protection of family, maternity and infant and strengthen cooperation with several international organizations including the International Federation of Family Plan. The Association was established on 25 January 1990.
(4) System of Human Rights Education and Dissemination
A fine system of education and dissemination to raise public awareness and knowledge on human rights law is well established in the DPRK.
① Education on the Theory and Law on Human Rights through Formal Education System
In the DPRK the education on the government’s human rights policies has been carried on in regular education networks through various methods including special lectures from the early days of the foundation of the Republic. It was further intensified in close combination with the education on the Juche Idea which is a scientific idea centred on human being and a true ideology defending human rights.
Of course, in the past, the education on human rights was carried out within the boundary of professional training on law to raise human rights experts. However, along with the development of the socialist society and the elevation of working people’s legal awareness, the human rights theory and law became compulsory subjects, not only in professional law education units, but also in regular universities and colleges, and even in middle schools and primary schools and the education has been carried on.
Hence, a fine system of education on human rights theory and law is established throughout all curriculums starting from the primary schools to universities in the DPRK at present.
In primary schools and middle schools basic knowledge on the Juche oriented human rights ideology, theory and law is taught and in universities and colleges the education is further intensified and includes international human rights law.
The level of the education on human rights law at the professional law education units such as the law school of the Kim Il Sung University was markedly enhanced and strengthened compared to the past.
As the graduates who acquired the Juche oriented human rights ideology, theory and law and the international human rights law in the regular education networks advanced to various fields of the state and society, the work of protecting and promoting human rights in the DPRK is being carried forward evermore splendidly.
② Dissemination of Human Rights Laws by Social Education Facilities and Media
In the DPRK, the education to enhance people’s knowledge on human rights law is actively conducted, not only in regular education networks, but in social education establishments and through various media as well.
Starting with the Grand People’s Study House located at the centre of Pyongyang City, the modern libraries built in every province, city/district, county keeps large numbers of original texts of law (national and international human rights laws), books and electronic publications that help the working people and youth raise their awareness of law and acquire knowledge on human rights law.
In the DPRK the demand for books on human rights is very high among people and, to meet the demand, books and multimedia products giving legal knowledge and common sense (including human rights law) are produced in greater numbers compared to the past.
TV and Radio networks and publications such as Korea Central TV, Korea Central Radio, Rodong Sinmun, Kuloja and Youth Life also widely introduces and advocates the human rights policy of the Republic and achievements made in its application.
Especially, the popular newspaper Rodong Sinmun, regularly carries articles and writings on major international human rights documents on anniversaries of their adoption including the day of adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
At the same time, Rodong Sinmun and other publications allocates a lot of space for analysis on the situation and the reactionary nature of human rights violations by imperialists in the international arena and serious human rights issues around the world.
③ Enhancing Judicial and Social Workers’ Knowledge of Human Rights Law
The work of protecting and promoting human rights is closely related to the stand and attitude of the law enforcers and social workers who are directly responsible for the work and their level of knowledge on human rights law.
No matter how good the human rights policy and law that the DPRK Government formulates are, we cannot expect to achieve successes in the protection and promotion of human rights unless the officials responsible for its implementation and enforcement possess sound view and attitude towards people and high level of legal knowledge.
That is why the DPRK Government forms the rank of law enforcers and social workers including government officials, judges, lawyers, prosecutors, people’s security officers with truly faithful servants of people and regularly organizes events for them such as short-courses, in-service training, forum, seminar and meeting for exchanging experiences.
In the events such as short-courses and in-service trainings emphasis is given to eliminating abuse of power and bureaucracy with the view and attitude of respecting and loving people, carrying out the work of protecting and promoting human rights according to the requirements of legal provisions and regulations and so on.
* The contents, form, method and the system of the education on law observance in the DPRK are given below for reference.
The contents of the education is making officials and working people possess proper view and attitude towards the socialist law and making them clearly understand legal provisions and regulations, what are the instances of violations of law and their harmfulness.
The education on law observance is carried out in various forms and methods. For example, informing the people of legal provisions, rules and regulations in time, explaining and advocating the law in association with the actual situation of socialist law observance life, widely advertising and disseminating positive examples in socialist law observance life and so on. (Socialist law observance life means every member of society works and lives in line with the requirements of the legal provisions and regulations instituted by the Socialist State.)
The system of education on law observance is the system in which the Socialist Law Observance Life Guidance Committee and the People’s Committee organizes and gives unified guidance over the education on law observance in respective areas and every organ, firm and organization forms law observance education units and carries out the education through the role of law explainer. Law observance education units are formed in every unit where a DPRK citizen works and lives. The law observance education unit is formed with an organ, a firm, or an organization as a standard unit.
2. Enjoyment of Human Rights by the DPRK Citizens
This part of the report shows how the major rights regulated by international human rights laws are actually being secured in the DPRK.
1) Political Rights
Political rights are the most important rights that a State is obliged to guarantee by the international human rights laws.
The views on the political rights defined in the international human rights laws are different from one State to the other and so are the levels of its realization. However, it is a common view of all states that the political rights are the most important rights to be given priority by the national and international laws
Thanks to the policy and legal and systematic measures of the DPRK Government which regards the political rights as the main rights, people are enjoying genuine political freedom and rights as the masters of the state and society.
(1) Right to Vote or to be Elected
The right to vote or to be elected is one of the most important basic human rights and major form of exercise of sovereignty of a state.
In the international arena of today where the democracy is advocated, the state provision of the citizens’ right to vote or to be elected becomes a decisive factor in the evaluation of human rights situation of the state.
It is an obligation of each and every state to provide legal guarantee for unhindered and unconditional participation and free expression of one’s opinion in the election. Of course, those who were deprived of the right to vote by the judgment of the court and mentally deranged persons are generally not given the right to vote or to be elected and many countries accepts this exception.
In the DPRK, all the citizens exercise their right to vote or to be elected regardless of their sex, nationality, occupation, period of stay in the country, wealth, education, party affiliation, political view and religious belief. Exercise of such a right is guaranteed by the Article 66 of Socialist Constitution and several laws and regulations including the law on election of the deputy to the Supreme People’s Assembly.
The election of the deputy to the People’s Assembly at various levels is carried out under the principle of universal, equitable and direct election and in the method of secret ballots.
All the citizens who have reached the feasible age for election exercise the right to vote or to be elected without any limitations and all the voters can participate in the election with equal rights and can be elected as a deputy to the power organ. Voters elect the deputies to the People’s Assemblies at various levels with their own hands according to their own will and the casts remain anonymous even after voting.
When electing the State power organ, the whole country is divided by the same population group and one deputy is elected in each constituency. The Election Committee is formed as an ad-hoc organization to organize and hold the election of the deputies to People’s Assemblies at various levels and for every election, the list of voters are made and announced to public with each polling station (constituency) as a unit.
The candidates are nominated by the voters themselves or by a political party and a social organization jointly or independently. Soon after the results of the election are confirmed (by opening the ballot boxes and counting the ballots), the elected deputies to the Supreme People’s Assembly are announced by the Central Election Committee, those to the Provincial People’s Assembly by relevant Provincial Election Committee and those to the City/District People’s Assembly by the relevant City/District Election Committee.
Currently in the DPRK, 100 % of the voters cast their ballots for the nominated candidates for deputies to People’s Assemblies. This has long been quite usual in the DPRK. The main reason behind the unanimous support of the voters to the candidates is that the voters themselves have nominated as candidates the working people including workers, farmers and intellectuals who devote themselves for the independent rights and interests of the voters.
In the election of the deputies to the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly held on March 9, 2014, 99.97% of voters registered on the lists of voters took part in the election and 100 % of them voted for the candidates for deputies to the Supreme People’s Assembly registered in the relevant constituencies. This is an expression of absolute support and trust of all voters in the DPRK Government, which relies on them and serves to defend and realize people’s rights and interests; it is a manifestation of the steadfast will and faith of the people to strengthen and further develop the people’s power.
In the DPRK, a citizen currently serving in the army also has the right to vote or to be elected and exercises the right. With the exception of those who were deprived of the right to vote by the judgment of the court and mentally deranged persons, there is no limitation in the election.
(2) Freedom of Speech and Press
The freedom of speech and press is an indispensable factor of democracy and one of the important issues of political rights.
The freedom of speech and press includes the rights to search for information, freely express one’s idea and opinion and receive and convey that of others whether it is through speech, writing, printing, radio, TV, movie, electronic means, music, chart or whatsoever.
The DPRK has more than 480 kinds of newspapers published at national and provincial level and factories, firms, and universities, hundreds of magazines printed by scores of publishing houses and several TV and radio channels.
All the citizens are freely exercising their rights to express their view and will anywhere through publications including various kinds of newspapers, magazines and books and TV and radio.
The rights to free writing and creation of works are legally guaranteed (by the constitution and Laws on Protecting Intellectual Property Rights) and according to the Law on Appeals and Petitions the rights to making appeals and proposals to improve the work of State organs, firms, organizations and officials.
Making appeals and petitions reflecting their wills and demands is a legitimate right of citizens as the masters of the State. A citizen, given just reasons and grounds, may make an appeal or a petition to an individual official, an organization, a firm and an organ including that of the supreme power.
In the DPRK an appeal and a petition is the voice of the popular masses and the reflection of public sentiment, and therefore, evaluation and processing of the appeal and the petition is regarded as an important work of meeting the needs and protecting the interests of the popular masses.
Citizens are fully provided with the rights to access information, process and manage information, convey the information and so on by the laws on information.
* The laws of the DPRK on information are categorized into the Law on Protecting Information Property Rights and the Law on Protecting Intellectual Property Rights according to the subject and method of regulation.
Freedom of speech and press can be fully enjoyed only when the conditions for speech and press are provided.
The DPRK modernized printing means and technologies to boost the quality of publications and develop culture of publishing. It also promotes the development of information technology so that people can swiftly acquire accurate information and utilize it with convenience and freely convey their ideas and opinion through up-to-date facilities.
Thanks to the policies and efforts of the DPRK Government, greater improvements shall be made in of promoting people’s rights to freedom of speech and press.
All kinds of advocacy of war of aggression, discrimination and violence, acts of instilling national, racial and religious antagonism and propaganda to threaten or harm the security of the state and social order are absolutely prohibited. Such acts are also prohibited by the articles 19 and 20 of the international treaty on citizens and their political rights.
(3) Freedom of Assembly and Association
First of all, the DPRK citizens are fully provided with the freedom of assembly and demonstration.
Freedom of assembly and demonstration is the right to freely hold gatherings to realize certain purposes and conduct collective acts to express their assertions or manifest their might that include national and international assemblies, street march, demonstrations, religious meetings, talks and so on.
According to the regulation on facilitating assemblies and demonstrations, a notification is made to the People’s Committee and People’s Security Organ of the corresponding area three days prior to holding the assembly or the demonstration. The written notification should mention the purpose, date and time, location, organizer and the size of the demonstration. The notified organ (People’s Committee and People’s Security Organ) provides assistance to ensure necessary conditions, safety and order for the assembly and demonstration.
The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. Assemblies and demonstrations that harm the security of the State, violate social stability, order, soundness of society and morality and encroach upon other people’s rights and freedom are prohibited. It is also regulated in the Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The US and Western countries’ bloody suppression on peaceful assemblies and demonstrations by mobilizing military and police and the arrests and imprisonments against the participants are the infringement upon human rights and violation of international human rights law.
The DPRK citizens are fully provided with the freedom of association.
The freedom of association is the right to establish various kinds of organizations to realize certain purpose or to join such an organization. Such organizations include political party, socio-economic and cultural organizations and human rights organizations. State organs, organizations and the court organized by the law or administrative measures of the State are excluded from such organizations.
The State provides conditions for all citizens to freely organize political parties and social organizations of democratic nature in line with the socialist constitution and legal provisions and ensure unhindered activities of such organizations.
In order to organize a political party or a social organization of democratic nature, an application for registration has to be sent to the Cabinet 30 days prior to the organization of the party or the organization. The application should mention the purpose of the association, number of members, organizational structure, date of establishment and the name of the head and the constitution of the association should be enclosed with.
At present, several political parties and social organizations such as the Workers’ Party of Korea, the Korean Social Democratic Party, the Chondoist Chongu Party, the General Association of Trade Unions of Korea, the Korean Democratic Women’s Union, Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League and the Union of Agricultural Working People of Korea are organized and operate.
Associations with the purpose of committing hostile acts against the State are absolutely prohibited. This is an exercise of the legitimate sovereignty of the Republic, just measure to protect and realize people’s human rights and fulfillment of the responsibility of a sovereign State which is in line with the international human rights laws.
Prohibition of anti-government associations is a matter of vital importance related to the destiny of the Republic and the prospect of the protection and promotion of people’s human rights under the situation where the US and Western countries are attempting to undermine the socialist system of the DPRK by creating and instigating such associations.
(4) The Right to Freely Participate in State Governing
The State power of the DPRK is the people’s power owned by people and serves in the interest of the people.
The DPRK provides ample opportunity and favourable conditions to everybody to hold public office of the State and display their ability.
Anybody with certain level of knowledge and capacity can become a government official.
The DPRK takes measures to make the government officials work with devotion being aware of their mission and mandate to serve for the people.
In the DPRK a government official is a person who works in a State organ with certain administrative obligations and rights.
The State regularly conducts competency assessment tests of government officials according to laws and regulations with the purpose of correctly assessing and enhancing competency.
The criteria of the competency assessment test are correct understanding on the State policies and legal provisions on relevant field, professional knowledge on relevant field, the capacity to organize and direct certain works, achievements in the past, law observance and possession of noble morality and traits.
The officials who did not participate in the competency assessment test of government officials or failed to pass the test shall lose their qualification.
Such measures do not limit or exclude them from freely participating in the management of State affairs.
In the DPRK where the gender equality is fully realized, the rate of women’s participation in the State affairs at power organs ranging from the Supreme Power Organ down to local People’s Committees is very high.
(5) Freedom of Religion and Thought
It is the freedom of a person to choose his or her religion and thought. That is why the international human rights laws require the issues of religion and thought to be solved according to every individual’s free will, not by coercion of the state or others.
In the DPRK everybody is fully provided with the rights to choose and follow their own religion and thought according to their own free will.
Every citizen has chosen to follow the Juche Idea which is the world outlook centred on human being, an ideology for the realization of independence of the popular masses and is firmly believing in Juche Idea thinking and acting according to its requirement.
This is not forced by the state or anybody else. It is the faith and will of all DPRK citizens they have acquired through their everyday life and experience and history that the Juche idea is an ideology which defends and realizes people’s independence and truly guarantees human rights and that when they advance along the road indicated by the Juche idea genuine happiness and prosperity will be achieved.
The Korean people take great pride in having and following the Juche idea and living as required by it. They do not allow on any account the acts of promoting and spreading reactionary and anti-human rights ideas such as racism and national chauvinism.
The moves of the US and Western countries to instil reactionary and degenerated ideas and culture into our people who believe and follow only the Juche idea is a wanton violation of the rights to ideology that all states are obliged to provide and as explicitly regulated by the international human rights laws.
The US and the Western countries are touting about so called “freedom” of religion, but in the DPRK the church and the state are clearly separated and everybody is fully provide with the freedom of religion.
According to the socialist constitution people are choosing and following any religion or thought on their own conviction. They are officially or personally, privately or jointly with others carrying out religious service, ritual and ceremony. They are free to build religious structures or conduct religious education.
The DPRK Government has never forced or influenced people either to believe or not to believe any kind of religion, and moreover, she has never opposed, tormented, oppressed or restricted religion or religious people.
At present we have the Korean Christians’ Federation, the Korean Buddhists Federation, the Korean Catholic Association, the Korean Chondoist Society and the Korean Association of Religionists in the DPRK. These religious organizations have well-organized structural system (Central Committee at national level, sub-committees at provincial, city and county level and sub-units under them) and their own church, publication, educational organ and so on. They are also conducting cooperation and exchanges with several religious organizations of the world. (Such as World Religionists Peace Conference, World Council of Churches and Asia Religionists Peace Conference)
Recently the Pongsu Christian Church and Changchung Catholic Sanctuary in Pyongyang city and the Ryongtong Buddhist Temple were refurbished and expanded, and the Singye Temple in Mt. Kumgang and the Pobun temple in Mt. Ryongak was newly restored.
* The construction of Changchung Church began in March 1988 was completed only in 6 months of time. On 2 October 1988, the special envoy of the Pope of Rome visited the church to conduct the opening ceremony and presented the Mass.
Foreigners and expatriates resident in the DPRK are also given complete freedom of religion. A Russian Orthodox church was built in Pyongyang city in August 2006 and Russian Orthodoxies resident in or visiting the DPRK hold religious rituals there.
Publications of religious organizations in the DPRK include “Chondoist Scriptures”, “Chondoist Epitome”, “The Old Testament”, “Hymns”, “Selection and Practice”, “Let’s Know about Chonjugyo”, “Steps of Religious Life” and “Catholic Prayers”.
Freedom of religion is allowed and provided by the State law within the limit necessary for securing social order, health, social security, morality and other human rights. Especially, the Government prevents the religion from being used to draw in foreign forces or harm the state and social order.
2) Civil Rights
Civil rights constitute an important element of the rights, which the states are obliged to ensure according to the international laws and regulations.
In the DPRK, people’s rights to existence, freedom and fair justice including their physical, mental, legal and property rights are fully ensured under the state’s legal guarantee.
(1) Right to Life
The right to life, among other things, is the inherent right of a human being and ensuring of this right stands as one of prime issues in ensuring human rights.
Human beings have a physical life, without which they cannot exist. Only when they are physically strong and healthy and their physical life continues, they can lead a social and political life as well as a cultural and aesthetic life.
Hence, paragraph 2, Article 1 of International Covenant on Civil and Political rights clearly stipulates that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in its Article 3, provides that everyone has the right to life.
In the DPRK, life and health of human being are most highly valued and any act of violating them is never tolerated.
Man’s life is fully protected from arbitrary arrest and execution by state institutions, organizations and individuals as well as from diseases and natural disasters.
In recent years, the US is kicking up a row about “arbitrary imprisonment”, “extrajudicial execution”, “torture” and “abduction” by using riffraff of all kinds. This is nothing but a farce designed to distort the realities of the DPRK and tarnish its image.
As far as those riffraffs that the US is using as “witnesses” are concerned, they are fugitives that committed extremely serious crimes against the country and people. They are terrorists that opposed the social system of the DPRK where people enjoy a genuine life and happiness and they are the objects of punishment by the criminal law of the DPRK
In the DPRK, no one is, without recourse to the law, deprived of their rights to life, which is guaranteed by the criminal law and regulations.
The death penalty is the harshest punishment that deprives criminals of their physical life, which is imposed for the most serious crime on an extremely limited basis.
The subjects of death penalty are the criminals that committed extremely serious crimes of plotting to overthrow the government, terrorist acts, treason, sabotage and subversion, intentional murder, drug trafficking and smuggling,.
According to Paragraph 1, Article 1 of the criminal law, death penalty is not imposed on those who were under 18 years of age at the time they committed crimes, nor is it executed against pregnant women.
Capital punishment does not constitute a violation of the right to life.
Capital punishment, according to the International Covenant on civil and political rights as well other the international human rights instruments, is imposed for the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime.
The issue of administering death penalty is an issue, which is related to the sovereignty of the state. Maintaining or abolishing of death penalty in a country cannot be a criterion by which to judge whether or not the country protects human rights. This is not just and fair from a viewpoint of principles of international human rights law as well as practices of law enforcement.
Moreover, slandering and abusing countries, which are not state parties to the International Human Rights Instruments concerning the abolition of capital punishment, connecting the issue of administering death penalty with human rights issues, are the violation of sovereignty of the state.
The DPRK guarantees by law the inviolability of every part of human body.
Those who sell or buy organs of human body and disable any part of organ are subject to severe legal punishment. Acts of buying or selling organs of human body, fetus or blood for the purpose of medical treatment also constitute a crime.
Such numerous laws and regulations as the constitution, criminal law and other laws related with prosecution, judgment, public security, labour and public health firmly guarantee the ensuring of rights to health.
The Government of the DPRK, in order to ensure the rights of the people to life, has invested an enormous amount of its funds in developing vaccines, as well as importing necessary medicines to prevent damages from contagious diseases. At the same time, the Government is taking positive steps to minimize the damages likely to be caused by natural disasters.
(2) Right not to be subject to Torture
It is strictly prohibited to intentionally torture, that is, to inflict pain upon humans and to treat and punish them in an inhuman and degrading manner, whether physical or mental.
Torture is an act that forces humans to confess or make a statement by inflicting physical or mental pain upon them. This is the most barbaric act that violates personal rights of humans.
Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 7 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, convention against torture and other international conventions on human rights defined such acts as crimes and strictly prohibited them.
According to the criminal law of the DPRK, it is regarded as a crime when criminals are interrogated in an inhumane manner including torture and a criminal case was decided in an unjust manner by exaggeration and fabrication.
Serious punishment is inflicted upon any one if he inflicts a serious injury or causes death upon a person.
In case anyone injures a person’s health or life or gives mental pain to him responsibilities of compensating for damages lie with them.
It is prohibited to make criminal suspects admit their facts constituting an offense and lead them to make a statement by torturing and beating as well as by other inhumane methods.
Students in the institutes of training officials of law enforcements are educated in such a way that they fully ensure scientific accuracy objectivity and prudence in dealing with a case based on proper understanding of illegality and harmfulness of inhumane and degrading methods of interrogation and that they strictly abide by the principles of “Evidence First”.
Law enforcement organs, on their part, take proper steps such as strict control, correction and punishment so that the inhuman treatments including torture may not be committed.
Institutions of investigation and prosecution have important roles to play in prohibiting inhumane treatment or punishment including torture.
Institutions of investigation, preliminary examination and reformation conduct regular supervision so that rights not to be subject to torture are ensured. If such cases as inhumane treatments and punishment including torture are brought to light strong legal punishment is placed on them. If appeals are made by examinees, defence counsels and others, the relevant institutions conduct inquiry in a timely manner and take necessary legal measures.
(3) Right not to be subject to Slavery
Human beings have the rights not to be subject to slavery, which are inalienable and inviolable rights.
Slavery is the state of being a slave who has no rights and whose independence is ruthlessly infringed upon.
Enslavement is the most extreme expression of power that a man exercises over the other. It is also a direct act of hostility against personality and dignity of human beings.
Enslavement includes selling and buying slaves, prostitution, human trafficking, forced labour and child labour.
In the DPRK, independence of human being is regarded as his/her life and soul, and no slavery is tolerated as it deprives human beings of their independence.
In the DPRK there exists no act of selling and buying slaves, prostitution, human trafficking and forced labour. In case such acts should be committed, severe punishment are to be meted out in accordance with the law.
Child labour is, according to the article 15 of the law on socialist labour and article 19 of law on children’s rights, strictly prohibited and institutions, enterprises, entities and individuals cannot employ children. Those who employ minors under working age are subject to criminal responsibility, according to article 181 of the criminal law.
It is in 1983 when the slavery was officially abolished on the earth.
However, many countries in the world still practice slavery or similar systems and customs, the forms of which are getting ever more diversified.
What should be noted here is the slavery forced upon the Korean people by Japan in the past. Such acts were committed with the approval of the Japanese government in an organized way.
The world history does not record barbarians like Japanese that forcibly drafted or kidnapped such a great number of women (among them were 2 00 000 Koreans) and took them to war sites like animals and forced sexual slavery.
Subjecting Koreans to a miserable status where they had no rights and were treated worse than a dog in a house of mourning and forced slavery- this is the result of the review of history of colonial rule enforced by Japan against Korea in the past.
Japan is the country that negates its history of slavery in Korea and does not make apology and compensation for them in a proper manner. Even today in Japan, selling and buying of slaves, forced labour, human trafficking and child labour are rampant.
Without apologies and compensation for the past crimes of slavery, the current issue of slavery cannot be solved properly. For this reason, Japan’s crime of slavery is by no means an issue of the past and statutory limitations cannot be applied to this matter.
Since its liberation, the DPRK has made strenuous efforts to educate all people to shape their own destiny independently as the masters of their own destiny, with heightened consciousness independence. As a result, all the citizens in the DPRK firmly defend their dignity and sovereignty, free from slavish mentality and flunkeyism
(4) Right to Personal Liberty and Security
Without legal ground, these rights include the rights not to be arrested or imprisoned. It also includes the rights of a person, who was deprived of freedom, to be treated, enjoying dignity as a human being.
The DPRK strictly prohibits arresting and imprisoning a person without a legal warrant.
The DPRK guarantees the inviolability of the person and the home and his or her privacy of correspondence. No citizen can be placed under control or be arrested nor can their homes be searched with legal grounds.
In accordance with article 241 of the criminal law of the DPRK, a law officer who illegally arrests, detains or confines an individual, searches his or her body or house, or seizes or confiscates his or her property is subject to criminal responsibility.
No one is deprived of his personal freedom if he acts in accordance with the conditions and procedures provided by the criminal law, the criminal procedure law and regulations.
Anyone who is arrested is informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and any charges against him.
A person, who was arrested or imprisoned for having committed a crime, have rights to stand trial within a prescribed period as well as to be released.
A person who is deprived of freedom in accordance with the law is treated, with respect for human dignity. A suspect is kept separate from those who are declared guilty and treated like innocent persons.
Those who suffer injury from illegal arrest and imprisonment have rights to demand compensation.
(5) Right to Fair Trial
All the people in the DPRK are equal before the law and have the rights to legal protection on an equal footing and without any distinctions. They, in accordance with the law, also have the rights to a fair trial in competent and independent courts organized by law in determining suspicion of any crime.
The state has set up an adequate number of competent and independent courts to ensure the rights to a fair trial and empower them to settle criminal and civil cases in a fair and just manner.
In the DPRK, there are the Supreme Court, provincial (municipal) court, city (district) court, people’s court at county level, special court (military court, railway court). The courts are independent in administering justice and their judicial proceedings are carried out in strict accordance with the law. Justice is administered by a court(court of first instance) consisting of a presiding judge and two people’s assessors elected at the people’s committee concerned.
All the suspects are presumed innocent until proved guilty in accordance with the law. Once the suspected criminals are found guilty, they are informed promptly of the charges and given enough time for defence. At the same time, they have the right to be tried without undue delay.
They also have the right to be provided with legal and translation assistance free of charge and call and examine witnessed. They are not forced to give a statement against themselves or to confess. They also have the rights to appeal (within 10 days after judgement) against conviction as well as to receive compensation in case of miscarriage of justice.
Under no circumstances, he or she is punished retroactively. He or she is not punished more severely than the one that is applied at the time of committing a crime.
Court cases, in principle are heard in public. Even if court cases are held behind closed doors, the verdict is made public.
Ensuring independence in justice is an important work for a fair and just judgement.
The state has taken strong measures to prevent institutions from conducting any act that may violate independence of the courts that were established for the settlement of criminal cases at hand. The state ensures that judgments and decisions rendered by the courts lacking independence do not have legal effect.
Public prosecutors and lawyers are required to enhance their roles in ensuring rights to fair trial.
Public prosecutors observe on a regular basis whether or not cases are dealt with and settled in a just and accurate manner in accordance with the law, and take relevant measures.
Prosecutors work hard so that the rights of the accused to rights to legal procedures are ensured and truth of a case is revealed, analysed, understood and decided in the examination and trial. In case a misjudgement of a case, which leads to violation of interests of the accused (making an innocent person as a guilty one and giving a heavy criminal punishment in comparison to the crime he committed), an appeal is made to put things right. Especially, acts of infringing upon human rights and abusing of power by the law enforcement officials in dealing with a case are referred to the courts so that relevant measures are taken.
3) Socio-economic Rights
Social and economic rights hold an important position in the issue of human rights, as it is related with creative and material life of the people aimed at taming the nature.
The entire people of the DPRK are fully provided with rights to economic activities and life and enjoy a genuine material and economic life.
(1) Right to Work
Working is the activity of human beings to create life and improve their living conditions. Right to work constitutes an important element in the socio-economic rights.
Right to work is the right to employment which includes the right to a job, stable working conditions and fair compensation to the amount of the work.
The working people in the DPRK become genuine masters of work and beneficiaries of the results of the work.
All the citizens who reach the working age, irrespective of their genders, nationalities, social affiliation, choose their jobs according to their hopes and talents. They are provided with stable jobs and working conditions. In this connection, the problem of unemployment does not exist.
Workers can leave off when they reach the retirement age (60 years old for men, 55 years old for women) and they are entitled to enjoy the benefits of the social security services. Child labour is prohibited.
The daily working hours in the DPRK differ according to characteristics of the working sectors with 8 hours, 7 hours and 6 hours respectively.
In case of short working hours such as 7 hours and 6 hours, it is considered same as the 8 hours work and workers get the same wages.
The short working hour is applied to the workers in difficult and special conditions of labour and to female workers with several children; it is the special benefits by the state to the working people.
Right to work in the DPRK is exercised under safe, cultural and hygienic conditions according to the principles of the state to give priority to labour protection in production and to continuously improve and furnish the labour protection facilities.
The state makes it a rule to provide labour safety education as a first step to the workers who exercise the right to work.
Newly enrolled workers, workers who shift to new occupations and workers who violate and do not abide by labour safety rules and regulations receive intense labour safety education for five to twenty days. As for those posted to very harmful, dangerous jobs and heavy labour sectors get three-month training and receive education in labour safety.
Rewarding according to the quality and quantity of work done is the economic principle of socialism. This is a powerful means that inspire the enthusiasm of workers for production, and raise their level of technology and skills and increase productivity.
The DPRK is strictly enforcing the socialist principle of rewarding according to the quality and quantity of work done, while continuously raising political and ideological consciousness of the workers.
Workers are rewarded equally for the same amount of work, irrespective of their gender, age and nationality.
The basic forms of pay for labour workers, office workers and cooperative farmers are piece rates and fixed rates. The supplementary forms of pay are extra allowance and bonus system.
The state assesses accurately the production plan in terms of production indices and the implementation of cost plan according to the cost-accounting system. Based on this, the state distributes wages to factories and enterprises. The factories and enterprises properly assess the implementation of production plan, quality of the products, utilization of equipments and materials and offer additional bonus to the workers who worked well.
Farmers and workers in cooperative farms are rewarded according to the amount of work they did in working days.
The working people in the DPRK fully exercise their right to rest.
Right to rest is exercised through such systems as rest after the 8 hour work, rest on Sundays and holidays, annual paid leave, supplementary leave, maternity leave, recuperation and recreation at state expense.
Such systems of rest help workers to recover energy consumed during their work and fully ensure their active participation to working life.
Working in the DPRK is considered as noble and honourable, as the right to work is fully ensured. Workers display voluntary enthusiasm and creativity to work for prosperity of the country as well as for the well-being of the people and their own happiness.
(2) Right to Social Security
Right to social security is the right whereby the aged people, people disabled due to ailment or physical dysfunction, the aged people and children without caretakers receive material support from the state.
People who are under social security have the right to receive necessary pension and allowance from the state in order to maintain their living.
The DPRK gives preferential treatment to the people who are under the social security. The country also steadily increases investments in social security sector and takes every step to improve the material and technical means for the social security services.
Relevant state organs make a thorough registration of the people under the social security and regularly pay them pension and allowance. They regularly look at the living conditions of the people under the social security and take necessary measures and make arrangements to provide them with preferential treatment on several occasions.
In particular, the state establishes a proper system of managing and operating facilities for social security services including home for the aged and recuperation centres and continuously improve the conditions of the facilities, thus ensuring fully the living conditions of the social security beneficiaries.
Thanks to such measures taken by the state, the beneficiaries are fully provided with conditions and atmosphere of living without any inconvenience.
The beneficiaries are supplied with daily necessities on a regular basis and receive service in modernized facilities with study rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, medical clinics, saloon, washrooms and bathrooms. Regular health check up is carried out on them. Should they need special medical care, they are taken to hospitals in time.
State provides labour, funds, materials and equipments necessary for social security in a responsible manner.
(3) Right to Adequate Standard of Living
Right to adequate standard of living is important in the socio-economic rights of the people.
Only when the people have the right to adequate standard of living, can they have the dignity and value as human beings and successfully conduct creative activities for transformation of nature and society.
Rewarding according to the quantity and quality of the work done is the main form of compensation in the socialist society and serves as an important tool for improving people’s living.
As a form of compensation that is set on the basis of the quality and quantity of the work done, reward is deemed fair and just.
However, this type of reward alone, cannot overcome the differences of living standards of workers, farmers and office workers, especially the differences between the families with more workers and the families with less workers. This cannot ensure the right of the people to an equal and adequate standard of living.
Right to adequate standard of living defined by the international human rights instruments includes one’s own and the family’s right to adequate standard of living and conditions including food, clothes and dwelling houses.
In the DPRK, additional benefits by the state and society in the new form of compensation are given, apart from the reward for the work done, fully ensuring the right to adequate standard of living.
Every person in the DPRK, since birth, has right to food and is supplied with food at a price next to nothing.
In the DPRK, dwelling houses for people are built at state’s expense and house utility fee are paid at a price next to nothing and farmers are excluded from the utility fee.
Thanks to the people-oriented policy, they have no worries of paying for food and house fee.
At present, people in capitalist countries are in deep agony under the heavy burdens of living expenses. People in the DPRK, thanks to its people-oriented policy, are living with no worries of paying for food and house fee from the moment of their birth. This fact alone proves that the socialist system of the DPRK is the land of bliss for the people.
Efforts are made in the DPRK to ensure the right of people to adequate standard of living by increasing agricultural production, developing light industry and effecting a turning point in construction.
4) Social and Cultural Rights
Social and cultural rights are the rights of the people for enhancing their creativity and satisfying their cultural requirements.
Only when people enjoy their rights to scientific and technical knowledge – the spiritual assets accumulated by them – as well as a cultural life, medical assistance, can they maintain their own dignity and value and enjoy a worthwhile life.
People in the DPRK are enjoying to their hearts’ content the social and cultural rights including the right to education.
(1) Right to Education
People acquire profound knowledge of nature and society through education and develop the power of cognition and the practical ability to transform the nature and society. It is in this connection that the right to education is the right of the people, as the independent and creative beings which must be ensured.
International human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulate that the right to education constitutes an integral part of human rights and lay down in detail the norms with regards to the right to education.
However, the international human rights instruments, at its very most, limited the right to education only to free and compulsory primary education. They also only referred to the contents related to school education.
The DPRK, surpassing the requirement of international human rights instruments, introduced a policy of free education for all to ensure the right to education to all the working people.
The DPRK put forward educational policy that meets the realistic demands of the educational development of the knowledge-based economy and world trend. It is aimed at training talented technicians and experts by developing onto a higher stage the universal 12-year compulsory education as well as the educational system of such various forms as full-time education, part-time education and enhancing the scientific and theoretical level of education of technology, social science and basic science.
At the same time, it is the policy that provides the free education to all students and grants university and college students the scholarship. In particular, children of preschool age are brought up in kindergartens and nurseries at the expense by the state and the society.
All the citizens in the DPRK receive the compulsory secondary education until they reach the working age.
The governmental and educational bodies at local levels are obliged to enlist all the children at school age in the relevant areas to admit them to schools. All the parents and guardians of the school-age children are also obliged to admit them to schools.
The local government bodies take necessary measures to ensure all children get access to secondary education including those with disabilities and those in remote mountain areas and isolated islands.
In the DPRK, education is free and the school institutions are strictly prohibited from charging parents or guardians of children with fees for admission, lessons, study tour, school training and field trips.
The state grants scholarships to the students in universities and colleges of higher education system as well as the students under the genius education systems and of the schools for the deaf, dumb and blind. The state also provides special scholarship to excellent students and preferential scholarship of post-graduate students and in-service wages to the students who are learning, while working.
The state provides food to students at various educational levels and ensures the provision of school supplies and daily necessities at low price. The honorary disabled soldiers and those students with no one to rely upon are provided with the same supplies for free.
The state gives special attention to meeting the educational conditions through good staffing of educational bodies and improving the curricula and methods of education, all of which are aimed at providing all the working people with full right to education.
The state is making an investment to build and modernize more school education establishments such as primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities and post-graduate schools as well as social education institutions including study house, library, schoolchildren’s palace, students’ hall, and children’s camp and indoor stadiums, befitting educational purposes. It is also making investment in renovating service facilities including dormitory, dining-room and medical clinic in educational bodies. The state takes necessary measures for creating educational atmosphere and maintaining the school building and campus in a cultural and sanitary manner in conformity with the pedagogical requirements.
The state takes steps to make sure that educational bodies have the right contents of education in accordance with educational purpose and characteristics of subjects and they apply advanced education methods combined with various teaching methods including the heuristic ones to increase the effectiveness of instruction and edification, thus raising the level of independence and creativity of the students.
The state makes it as a plan to produce and supply educational equipments and materials before a new school year begins. The state sees to it that public transportation bodies, relevant organs, enterprises and establishments provide, before anything else, the conditions for practical training, study tour and field trip.
Comprehensive and universal free education, regular education that offers everybody high education, correspondence education, developed social education system and educational conditions under which one can learn to his heart’s contents in any place and in any position are the main educational systems of the DPRK.
This clearly shows that the DPRK has the most advanced educational system and gives all the people the right to education at high level.
(2) Right to Participate in Scientific & Cultural Activities
Providing conditions for active and free participation in activities of scientific and cultural life and ensuring the legal protection on the creations in the scientific and cultural activities will help people to raise their intellectual abilities and enjoy the cultural and emotional life.
Ensuring the participation of popular masses in the work of science and technology and the full display of their creative thinking and wisdom is the consistent stand of the DPRK Government which attaches a great deal of importance to the development of science and technology.
The state encourages all the working people to learn science and technology and actively participate in developing them, providing every necessary possible condition.
The state encourages more inventions, innovations and rational schemes, properly evaluating them.
In particular, scientific and technical successes, achieved in the development of production and modernization, are quickly applied to the field to prove effectiveness.
In case a person makes outstanding contributions in science and technology sectors, he or she receives commendation including honorary titles, even if he or she is a worker. Bonus is also given, if the successes brought economic benefits to the state.
The DPRK fully provides the working people with right to cultural life.
In the building of national culture under socialism, the DPRK adheres to the principles of building of genuine popular and revolutionary culture that serves the people, struggling against cultural infiltration by dominationist forces and tendency of restorationism, protecting national cultural heritage to succeed and develop in conformity with the realities of socialism and removing out-dated way of life to establish a new way of living of socialism in an all-round way.
Any citizen in the DPRK can either write or create literary work.
Thanks to the people-oriented policy, writers and artists produce many cultural pieces of high ideological and artistic value, which are national in genre and socialist in content, thus letting people take part in literary and cultural activities.
The state provides sure legal guarantee for the property rights of the people, who created cultural products in the fields of literature and art and science and technology, and the intellectual property rights of those, who achieved scientific and technological successes of a new, developed and high economic effectiveness, including patent rights, industrial design rights and trademark.
Sports became popular and part of daily life in the DPRK, further promoting the right to cultural and emotional life.
Every organ, enterprise and institution has non-permanent mass sports organization, which is under regular operation. Non-permanent mass sports organizations organize mass sporting activities and provide necessary sporting facilities and apparatus.
Sporting month and day has been set for different sporting events throughout the country.
Such places as parks and recreation centres are furnished with facilities and apparatuses for mass sporting activities. Facilities are maintained on regular basis. As a result, all the working people feel comfortable to participate in sporting activities.
(3) Right to Health
The right of entire DPRK citizens to health is fully ensured by complete and universal free medical service and preventive medical care system.
― Right to Health Ensured by Free Medical Care System
In the DPRK, all the medical services such as medication, diagnosis, experimental test, treatment, operation, sick call, hospitalization, meals are free for all patients including outpatients. Preventive medical care including recuperation, delivery, health check-up, medical consultation and vaccination are also free of charge.
The state sees to it that hospitals and clinics are set up in modern way and located evenly in cities, rural areas, factories, enterprises, fishing villages and remote mountainous villages. Specialized hospitals and sanatoriums such as maternity and infant hospitals have been built in all parts of the country and necessary steps are taken to continuously improve the quality of medical services for the people to get easy access to healthcare services anywhere and anytime.
The state puts emphasis on Koryo therapy, an indigenous treatment method of the Korean nation, and expands the network of such treatment. It also encourages health institutions to widely introduce the traditional Koryo treatment method based on accurate diagnosis by modern facilities.
Many sanatoriums, equipped with modern facilities, are set up at the places of hot springs and mineral waters and other places of favourable climate so that people could enjoy the benefits of medical treatment by natural agents.
― Right to Health Ensured by Preventive Healthcare System
Right of the working people to health, along with the free medical system is realized through preventive medical treatment, aimed at taking preventive steps against diseases.
The DPRK let organs, enterprises and institutions including the public health organizations to promote hygiene-related dissemination and education so that people voluntarily keep sanitary environment, protect and preserve their good health in a scientific way and take preventive steps against diseases.
In order to protect healthy life environment, measures are taken to prevent the pollution through planting trees and increasing green areas, and protect air, rivers and streams and soil from harmful gas and hazardous materials.
The state supplies to workers items for labor protection including nutrients as well as hygienic and protective tools to prevent occurrence of industrial diseases.
Hygiene regulations set by the state are strictly observed in the production and handling of goods including foodstuff and preventive measures are taken against epidemics.
The household doctors care service system in the DPRK is an advanced system where medical doctors are in charge of certain communities to regularly visit residents and monitor their health for preventive medical service.
The household doctors care service system is the people-oriented system only to be found in the DPRK, as the state takes full responsibility for life and health of the people.
In the DPRK where the household doctors care service system is in effect, hospitals concerned prepare parthograph for every birth to record in detail the health conditions and preventive treatment. In case a resident moves his or her residence to other place, his or her parthograph is transferred to the hospital in the place. This shows that the people in the DPRK are under the meticulous care of the state from the moment of their birth to death.
Public health organs and health service providers in the DPRK are educated to do their best in protecting people’s life and improving their health with a high sense of honour and responsibility for their tasks, so that people are enjoying a happy life and actively participate in social activities.
In addition, social and cultural rights including the right to international cultural cooperation, the right to information, academic freedom and the right to cultural heritage are fully ensured in the DPRK.
5) Rights of Special Group
The issue how the rights of a special group are ensured is an important index indicating human rights situation of a certain country.
In the DPRK, due attention is paid to rights of special group including women, children and the elderly to ensure their full exercise of rights.
(1) Rights of Women
Women in the DPRK have equal rights with men and fully enjoy their independent and creative life in all sectors of society.
The following are the realities showing how women are enjoying their rights.
─ Political Life
Women in the DPRK freely take part in election activities as they have the right to elect and be elected. As they are also masters of state power, they are actively participating in its activities.
Since the election of the members of the people’s committees at provincial, city and county level, the first of its kind in the history of the DPRK, held on November 3, 1946, women have been exercising the equal election rights with men.
Women in the DPRK enjoy freedom and right to all socio-political activities like speech, publication, assembly and demonstration.
Every woman belongs to political organizations guided by the party and the state and works hard to implement the line and policy of the DPRK Government.
Many women work as officials of the party and state organs and social organizations.
Completely free education is enforced in the DPRK where every woman enjoys equal right with man in learning without any payment.
The 12-year education system and higher education system fully established in the DPRK enable every person to be educated.
Today, the DPRK has millions of intellectuals. Among them, the number of women technicians and experts reaches more than one million.
The DPRK is the only country where all people, irrespective of gender, have access to free education in their lifetime.
─ Public Health
The issue of ensuring the rights of women in the public health sector is an important one to lay a solid foundation for not only protecting their health but further improving the health conditions of the humankind in general.
Only when mothers are healthy, can they give birth to healthy babies and bring them up healthily.
From this point of view, protection and improvement of women’s life and health come to be an important matter, which is decided on the public health services for women.
Not only female workers but also housewives and children in the DPRK are the beneficiaries of free medical care.
Especially, special benefits are granted to nursing mothers as well as to new-born babies.
The Pyongyang Maternity Hospital, equipped with sophisticated and modern medical facilities, assists women in giving safe birth on the basis of latest scientific and technological successes. The maternity hospital, at the same time, completely cures the diseases of nursing mothers during their life in hospital.
The Breast Tumour Institute of the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital, which was completed on October 8, 2012, has 1,974 square meters of building area with 8,500 square meters of total floor space, has diagnosis and treatment rooms and sick-rooms including mammographic rooms, X-ray rooms, cancer treatment rooms, physio-therapy rooms, body weight and temperature measuring rooms, ultrasonography rooms and operation rooms. The institute is making great contributions to improving health conditions of women.
Besides the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital, the people’s hospitals at provinces, cities (districts), counties and towns have obstetrical departments. The hospitals register every pregnant woman in relevant regions and provide medical assistance and help in delivery. The hospitals take good care of women’s health after the delivery and take every possible measure to prevent diseases.
Thanks to the advantageous health system centered on people, the average life expectancy of women is steadily increasing.
Proper selection and allocation of jobs and labor for women are an important condition that enables them to work creatively according to their physical conditions and capacities.
For this, the DPRK takes preferential measures to specially protect and treat women in the field of their working life.
It is strictly prohibited to allocate women to the working places that are harmful to their health and inappropriate for their physical conditions. Night-time work is not allowed for nursing mothers and pregnant women. No one can let married women to work overtime or work on holidays and send women in over four month of pregnancy for itinerant work or official trip.
When triplets are born, the state provides them with clothes, blankets, milk products, etc. free of charge and gives subsidy to their parents until they reach the school age. The state also assigns a doctor to every triplet and their mother to take care of their health.
Female workers with babies before their first birthday are allowed to have enough time for breast-feeding within working hours. Six-month pregnant workers are given easy works before their maternity leave.
The state assigns to organs, enterprises and institutions a duty to set up separate toilets for women as defined by the state’s regulation and necessary service facilities like nurseries, kindergartens and medical ward for children.
Public health institutions should regularly check up the health conditions of female workers, especially pregnant women, in order to protect and improve their health.
(2) Rights of the Child
To ensure the rights of children is an issue of weighty importance, which decides the future of the country and nation as well as with the humankind.
In the DPRK where children are regarded as the king of the country, every child enjoys equal rights, irrespective of their gender, jobs of their parents or guardians, property status and physical conditions.
Every child in the DPRK is entitled to having a name and receiving care from the state and society and their parents.
In acquiring nationality by birth, every child has the right to acquire the nationality of the DPRK as follows:
– The child born between the DPRK citizens
– The child born between a DPRK citizen and a foreigner who is residing in the domain of the DPRK
– The child born between a citizen of the DPRK and a stateless citizen who is residing in the domain of the DPRK
– The child born between stateless citizens who are residing in the domain of the DPRK
– The child born in the domain of the DPRK without the identification of parents.
Children have the right to preserve their identity like nationality, name and family relationship.
Children can join the children’s organizations including the Children’s Union.
And they are free to express their views and opinions through speeches, writings, publications and works of art.
Their privacy, family, correspondence, honor and character are protected by law.
Kidnapping and trafficking of children as well as child labour are strictly prohibited.
The child can make complaints and petitions.
― Education and Healthcare
Children in the DPRK have the right to receive the universal 12-year free compulsory education as well as the right to developing their talents and fulfilling their hopes.
Children who are not under the care of their parents or guardians are brought up in baby homes, orphanages and boarding schools at state expenses.
Children in the DPRK have the right to receive the benefits of complete and universal free medical care. All expenses including medical consultation, sample test, medication, inpatient treatment, recuperation and travel expenses, medical check-up, vaccination, utilization of fixing medical apparatus are paid by the state.
― Civil Rights
Children in the DPRK have the right to education and nurture by their parents under the family environment favorable for their growth and development.
Parents or guardians pay special attention to education and edification of the children of physical defects and take good care of their life and health.
Families are encouraged to respect children’s will to the full. Such acts as ill-treatment, indifference, cursing, reprehension and beating against them are not allowed.
Guardians can be selected for children without the care of their parents. Guardians should be their grandparents and brothers and sisters.
Anyone can foster or adopt children of other people. In this case, foster parents should nurture and educate them like their true children. The rights to fostering and adoption are legally protected.
Following persons cannot foster or adopt children.
– Person deprived of the right to vote
– Person with diseases harmful to the child’s health
– Person incapable of nurture and education
Children are granted the right to inherit. Violation of this right for the reason that he/she is a child is considered to be illegal.
― Administration of Justice
Every child in the DPRK has the right to be treated as a child in all legal procedures.
Punishment can be imposed only on those over 14 years old when he or she commits a crime and death penalty can never be imposed on those under 18 years old.
Child criminal above 14 years old has the right to get help from a counsel. The law organs, in any case, are not allowed to force children to admit offenses or lead their statements. The law enforcement organs should examine a child as a witness in the presence of his or her protectors like parents, guardian and teacher. The law organs cannot examine child as a witness without the presence of his or her protectors.
In case the law enforcement organs arrest or detain parents of a child, they inform the child of the reasons for their arrest or detention, the place of detention, etc., unless it gives harm to the child.
It is the consistent policy of the DPRK to attach importance to children and ensure their rights and interests ahead of others. The DPRK government continues to pay deep attention to their growth and development. Under the principle of “Best Things to the Children!” it is taking every necessary measure, so that the children fully exercise their rights and enjoy a happy life with nothing to envy in the world.
(3) Rights of the Aged Persons
The aged people are the old generation, who dedicated all their wisdom and enthusiasm to development of the state and society as well as to the creation of economic and cultural wealth.
It is the DPRK policy to treat the aged people with respect and look after their life and health in a responsible manner. The state makes a steady investment in protecting the aged people and makes efforts to provide them with a civilized and happy life. It also puts emphasis on education in socialist ethics and fine traits, so that assist, respect and care for the aged people become the trend of the society.
In the DPRK, the obligation of supporting the aged people is assigned to their spouses and also to their sons or daughters and grandchildren who live together or not. Their brothers or sisters can be supporters.
The aged people regularly receive pension and state aids of various kinds. Even if they have their supporters, they can receive the state support according to their requests.
The aged people have the right to possess and dispose their personal properties as well as the right to receive health check-up and treatment on a regular basis from the health institutions in-charge and medical institutions. The aged people are entitled to be supplied with nutritional foodstuffs and tonics rich in micronutrients like vitamin and calcium on a preferential basis and according to their physiological characteristics.
They can participate in different popular sports activities for them and have the right to be provided with conditions necessary for normal exercises including rhythimic gymnastics and Taekwondo.
Macrobians over 100 years old receive the social benefits specified by the state. The old people, according to their hopes, can go for vacation, sightseeing, tourism and excursion in the days of spring or autumn. They, according to their will and ability, can participate in various social activities and organize and operate workteams or associations for the merited workers or the old people.
Government organs at all levels have non-permanent protection committee for the aged people in order to accurately carry out policy of protecting the old people. The Korea Federation for Care of the Aged and other relevant institutions are handling practical matters.
The DPRK has established the Fund for Protecting the Aged People to reserve and expend the fund for protecting the aged people.
Fine traits and optimistic way of life of the aged people as well as exemplary deeds in protecting them are introduced by mass media. Commercial, public service and transport institutions treat the old people preferentially after setting Seats for the old people and Day for the old people and provide good services to them.
As shown above, the DPRK provides every condition to the old people so that they can perform the role of old generation and elders of society and family.
(4) Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The handicapped are the people who should be specially protected by the state and society, as they lost or have limited physical and mental functions.
The DPRK respects the personalities of the people with disabilities in order to provide favourable environment and conditions to them for their recovery, education, cultural life and working. The state gives them the same social and political rights, freedom and interests as those of healthy people.
The state increases investments in the sector of protecting the disabled people and modernizes its materialistic and technical means in order to fully ensure their rights. It also set it as a principle to find and cure in time the diseases, which cause disabling, as well as to take preventive steps against traffic accidents and labour disasters, which produce disabled people.
The state strengthens the educational work among people to kindly treat and help the disabled people with noble consciousness and obligation. The state also set it as a principle to treat in a preferential manner the disabled people including honorary disabled soldiers who made devotion to the motherland and people.
According to such principles of protecting the disabled people, following rights are given to the disabled people in the DPRK.
― Healthcare Service
The disabled people can receive medical care in the special or integrated recovery centers for them. They can be treated in organs, enterprises, entities and families under the assistance of medical workers.
In recovery and treatment of the disabled, western medicine and traditional Koryo medicine are combined to take effect, together with the utilization of natural factors. Modern treatment equipments and curing methods are applied for the treatment of the disabled.
To strengthen the education of the disabled persons is a major method that enables them to possess profound knowledge and qualifications.
In the DPRK, the disabled persons, who are under school age, are entitled to receiving nursing and education in nurseries, kindergartens and recovery and treatment organs. Nursing and education fees are paid by the state or organs, enterprises and organizations.
The disabled people who are at schooling age can learn in a special class organized in ordinary schools as well as in special schools for the blind, the deaf and dumb and intellectual development schools according to their physical and mental characters and disabled types.
The disabled people have the rights to be provided with special educational materials and educational tools and facilities of special schools from the state.
They, according to their hopes, can enter colleges and universities. In this case, main stress is put on their real ability.
They have the rights to learn in trade schools of massaging, computer typing, painting and designing. In this case, considerations are given to their scholastic ability, age and the degree of disabilities.
The disabled people have the right to select jobs according to their gender, age and physical ability. They can also work in special enterprises or organizations for the disabled people, if necessary.
Working time for the disabled people is shorter than 8 hours according to the degree of their disabilities.
It is not allowed to let the disabled people work in the labour environment of not enough working conditions.
― Cultural Life and Others
The people with disabilities can take part in sports good for keeping their health and improving their physical abilities. They can enjoy their lives at cultural and recreation centres for them built by the state.
The people with disabilities, who engage in physical and mental labour, have the right to adequate rest. Preference is given to them in terms of recuperation, rest and medical treatment.
The people with disabilities who rendered distinguished service to the state are awarded medals, orders and honorary titles. Allowance is provided to those who completely lost the ability to work.
Convenience is fully offered to the people with disabilities in the utilization of communication and transport means, convenience facilities. Atmosphere of treating them in a preferential manner is encouraged throughout the society.
The physically handicapped who cannot support himself including the blind are entitled to use public transportation means such as bus, trolley bus, commuting train and ferry with no charge.
The DPRK has set every June 18 as the Day of Persons with Disabilities and, on the day, conducts a wide campaign for protecting and supporting the handicapped to create an atmosphere of protecting and supporting them throughout the society.
3. DPRK Position and Its Efforts for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights at the International Level
This part clarifies the view and principled stand of the DPRK on ensuring human rights at the international level and describes the implementation of international conventions on human rights and international cooperation in the field of the human rights.
1) Principled Stand of the DPRK on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights at the International Level
Human rights are universal ideal and justice, common to humankind. It is a common obligation of every country to protect and promote human rights on a global scale.
The DPRK, as a member of the international community, is faithfully implementing its obligations to ensure human rights based on its correct views and stand on ensuring human rights at the international level.
① Views on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights at the International Level
─ Why Did the Issue of Human Rights Promotion at the International Level Come up?
The imperialist powers intensified war and aggression from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, all of which were aimed at dividing the world. This gave birth to numerous human rights issues in imperialist countries.
The progressive people made great efforts to address the human rights issues both locally and internationally.
Such efforts resulted in signing of international treaties on human rights including Geneva Convention in 1864, Treaty on Banning Sales of Slaves, Treaty on Protecting Minorities as well as in formation of International Red Cross Committee and International Labour Organization.
However such efforts were limited to a few countries, regions and field. At that time, there was neither a clear idea nor standard for ensuring human rights at the international level.
It was since the mid-1940s of the last century when the protection of human rights became global issue and the great efforts to solve it were made.
Lessons drawn from World War II highlighted the issue of promoting human rights at international level.
World War II, provoked by fascist Germany and its allies, was aimed at enslaving all people and dominating the whole world. This brought untold misfortunes, pains and disasters to the humankind.
The Hitlerites occupied numerous countries including Poland to indiscriminately massacre innocent people, infringed upon the people’s basic democratic freedom and rights and enforced an unprecedented, fascist rule over the countries.
Joining in World War II, the Japanese imperialists occupied most parts of Southeast Asia and the Pacific region and committed atrocities including plundering and killing people. They massacred almost two million people in Vietnam and Indonesia and 1.1 million people in the Philippines.
From the moment of its occupation until defeat, the Japanese imperialists committed barbaric atrocities in Korea such as killing of more than one million people, forcible drafting and kidnapping of about 8.4 million people and taking away 200 000 women as sex slaves for the Japanese army.
The international community, while experiencing bloody tragedy in World War II, keenly felt the need to check and foil war and aggression as well as the violation of human rights by the imperialists both internally and externally.
At the same time, there were strong voices from the international community that if the international human rights instruments or mechanisms that bind every country to obligation had existed, such violations of human rights as Holocaust of Jews and mass-killing of civilians could have been prevented, though it was hard to check the outbreak of the world war.
Such lessons led to the birth of the United Nations and the issue of ensuring human rights at international level came up as main agenda for discussion in the international arena.
Another factor that triggered the human rights issue at international level was the struggle for human rights and democracy staged worldwide.
After World War II, the growth of socialism and the ever more serious contradictions of capitalism clearly revealed the fact that capitalist society is a system that violates human rights.
Consequently, many people in Asia, Africa and Latin America overthrew social systems that went against people’s rights. They unfolded vigorous struggles to build a new society that fully defends the independent rights of the people and finally achieved national independence.
These countries worked hard to defend sovereignty and resources of their nations as well as to ensure the rights to socio-economic development.
At the same time, people in capitalist countries took an active part in the movement to ensure their rights including the right to existence.
Such global trend for human rights and democracy made it possible for the issue of ensuring human rights at international level to emerge as the most important matter in the world.
Another factor that triggered the human rights issue at international level was the severe violation of human rights on a global scale.
With the end of the World War II, mankind believed that peace settled in the world.
However, the beginning of the Cold War by the U.S. put an end to such dreams.
The U.S., under the pretext of protecting the “Free World” from “communist threats”, declared a Cold War aimed at obliterating socialism. The U.S., at the same time, became undisguised in their moves to invade and unleash wars against other countries as well as to interfere in their internal affairs.
The U.S. and its followers toppled the regimes of various countries and severely infringed upon the rights of their peoples. Accordingly, the sovereignty and human rights of many countries and nations came under serious threat.
Violation of human rights including racial discrimination became ever more blatant in the capitalist countries such as the U.S. and Apartheid South Africa.
Human rights abuses were getting serious in imperialist colonies like south Korea, which is still under the occupation of the U.S.
Grave human rights situations on a global scale called for the settlement of this issue by common efforts of the world people and raised the issue of ensuring human rights at international level.
─ Seriousness and Complication of Human Rights Promotion at International Level
At present, the issue of ensuring human rights at international level becomes more serious with each passing day, as the U.S. and other Western countries violate human rights of their own people and infringe on the human rights of the people of other countries.
The U.S. and other Western countries ruthlessly trample down political freedom and rights as well as socio-economic and cultural rights of their own people. By doing so, they intensify the violation of the people’s human rights.
The U.S., with only 5% of the entire world population, accounts for 25% of the total number of prisoners around the world. It is reported that the majority of those prisoners are the people who demanded their political freedom and rights.
Evil acts of all kinds including mediaeval and decadent tortures are under way in the U.S. prisons even at this time, when the world is on its way to reach a new level of human civilization. The U.S., which is called an “exemplar of human rights”, is prevalent with racial discrimination deeds, all of which are at its administration’s connivance and instigation.
EU nations boast of material civilization. However, as the people in these countries are not adequately provided with the rights to work, food and housing, a huge number of unemployed are wandering the streets. In Germany alone, the unemployment amounts to 2.92 million in June this year.
Japan has 2.33 million jobless as of May this year.
People are in constant anxiety and horror with extreme individualism, misanthropy, degenerated ways of life and superstition rampant in the U.S. and other western countries. In addition, those countries are prevalent with such crimes as murder, robbery, rape, prostitution, racial discrimination, chauvinism of other nations, torture and ill-treatment of indigenous people and immigrants. This is today’s reality.
The U.S. and other Western countries, under the signboard of “protecting human rights”, unleash a war against other countries to enslave people, openly interfere in their internal affairs and severely infringe upon the rights of the people.
The aggressive wars trample down the sovereignty of countries, take the lives of a great number of innocent people and threaten their rights to existence and hold back the socio-economic and cultural development.
The U.S. made an armed invasion against Grenada, conducted indiscriminate air raids on the former Yugoslavia and ignited wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, all of which were carried out under the pretext of “protecting the human rights”.
The U.S. has set up secret prisons in different parts of the world and kidnaps people on a worldwide scale and conducts torture against them. At least 160 prisoners are now experiencing all sorts of hardships in secret prisons in Guantanamo Bay, run by the U.S. Navy.
Its indiscriminate drone attacks take the lives of innocent civilians in various countries including Pakistan and Yemen.
The U.S. has committed such indiscriminate atrocities as wiretapping and intercepting e-mails, targeting many countries and people. This is not only an illegal and outrageous act of espionage but also a disgraceful act that violates human rights.
The U.S. has, up to now, installed wiretapping facilities in almost 80 places of the world and mobilized intelligence agencies including CIA to wiretap conversations of not only senior officials including Presidents of its allied nations but also ordinary people.
The U.S. and other Western countries capitalize on “human rights issue” to interfere in the internal affairs of the countries aspiring after independence and topple their regimes. They also instigate the reactionary forces to suppress the human rights of the people.
They are clamoring about “human rights issue” in the DPRK, abusing the power of international human rights organizations. This is an act of interfering in other’s internal affairs and a violation of human rights aimed at bringing down the regime.
The continuation of global conflicts and domestic rebellions result in violation of human rights including people’s rights to life. The main reason lies in the motives of the U.S. and other Western countries to interfere and gain profits from the escalated tensions and the conflicts of others.
Many countries undergo economic difficulties and people’s rights to existence are threatened. This is entirely attributable to the economic blockade and sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other Western countries.
The issue of ensuring human rights at international level becomes ever more complicated with each passing day due to the high-handed and arbitrary practices and doubled standards of the U.S. and other Western countries.
Today, dialogues and cooperation for the protection and promotion of human rights diminished in the international field of human rights. Instead, high-handed and arbitrary practices and double-standards based on political interests of some countries are becoming ever more pronounced.
The U.S. and other Western countries turn a blind eye to the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty, non-interference, trust and mutual benefits and make unilateral demands to “cooperate” and “collaborate” in the sector of human rights.
It is true that collaboration and exchanges are needed in order to ensure the human rights on an international level.
Such collaboration and exchanges, to all intents and purposes, should be made according to the accepted principles of international law. This should not be set as conditions to interfere in internal affairs of other countries.
The U.S. and other Western countries create complexities in such a way that they refer the issue of human rights not only to the international political organizations including the United Nations but also to the international economic and trade organizations. Human rights issues, which have nothing to do with economy and trade, are discussed at the forums of international economic and trade organizations and, consequently, the countries are sharply divided over their opinions. This is entirely attributable to the moves of the U.S. and other Western countries against human rights.
It is none other than the U.S. and other Western countries that take advantage of international organizations for their own interests; they ignore international organizations and act on their own, in case their interests are threatened.
The U.S. publishes “Report on Human Rights” on an annual basis and adopts bills targeting other countries. This fact clearly shows to what extent the arbitrary practices, high-handedness and double-standards of the U.S. have gone.
The U.S., in its“2013 Report on Human Rights” published this year, asserted that such countries as China, Russia, Cuba and Iran infringe upon the human rights of their own people, impudently claiming that no other country exerts much efforts to defend human rights than the U.S. does.
As far as the annual “Report on Human Rights” by the U.S. State Department is concerned, it is a document of vicious political provocation, aimed at slandering and insulting the sovereign states with the “human rights standards” based on the American value. This is a prelude of aggression and intervention against sovereign states by the U.S., which poses as a “human rights judge” of the world.
─ Ways to Promote Human Rights at the International Level
Out of the noble aspiration and desire of humankind and efforts of international society to protect and promote human rights, considerable number of human rights-related international conventions were adopted and organizations established and numerous successes have been achieved so far.
Promoting the human rights at international level, however, remains one of the global issues that require urgent solution.
In order to properly address the human rights issue, independent development and prosperity of each country and nation should be secured in the first place.
Each country and nation, rather than foreign country, nation or any international organizations, should be responsible for addressing the human rights issues, and accordingly it is urgent to achieve the independent development and prosperity of each country and nation.
In the absence of independent principle, a country and nation can not develop; without its strong national power, it has no choice but to rely on foreign forces and it would eventually become slaves of imperialism, let alone the promotion of human rights of its people. This is the truth proven by the history and reality.
Only when independent development and prosperity of each country and nation is secured, it is possible to fully ensure its people’s human rights and further promote and reliably protect them.
What is important in achieving the independent development and prosperity of each country and nation is to thoroughly maintain independence in politics, self-support in the economy and self-reliance in national defence.
Secondly, it is needed to foil the moves conducted by the U.S. and other Western countries under the pretext of “human rights protection”.
The issue of international protection and promotion of human rights was brought up by the very forces that infringed upon independence of other countries. The main obstacles to the international promotion of human rights at present are the moves of the U.S. and other Western countries for “human rights protection”.
Without frustrating such moves, it is impossible to expect a solution to the issue of ensuring human rights at the international level and build a free and prosperous, new world.
Each country should reject the manoeuvres of the U.S. and other Western countries for “protection of human rights” as an act of severely violating the principles of respect for sovereignty and non-interference and firmly defend its sovereignty.
Unity of the anti-imperialist independent forces and close cooperation among countries are required to oppose and reject the high-handed and arbitrary practices and double-standard of the U.S. and other Western countries in the international field of human rights.
Thirdly, increasing the role of international human rights organizations is vital to properly settling the issue of human rights at the international level.
Currently, there exist many international organizations dealing human rights issue such as UNGA and UN Human Rights Council whose efforts resulted in some progress in promoting human rights at the international level.
However, most of these organizations have a series of shortcomings in activities, in view of their objective and mission and, consequently, serious issues remain unresolved in the international field of human rights.
The role of UNGA is important before anything else in increasing the role of the international human rights organizations.
The UNGA should make due contribution to the promotion of human rights at the international level in conformity with the basic spirit of the UN Charter which sets the respect for and provision of human rights as one of its key objectives.
The conspiratorial, interventional and bellicose attempts by the U.S. and other western countries in the name of international organizations such as UNGA should never be tolerated.
In particular, UN Human Rights Council, one of the subsidiary bodies of the UNGA, should never be abused as a tool to serve for the interests of certain countries while human rights situation in each country should be reviewed in an objective and impartial manner.
* The “Commission of Inquiry (COI)” on human rights situation in the DPRK, a marionette of the U.S. and its satellite forces, fabricated and circulated its “report” based on “testimonies” of human scum who betrayed their homeland and people.
Members of the “COI” are despicable human rights abusers bribed by the U.S. and its allies to distort the facts and deliberately tarnish the image of a sovereign state.
The HRC makes a fuss about fictitious “human rights situation” based on false documents fabricated by those criminals and attempts to put political pressure. This arouses doubt on whether the HRC is an international body serving for the promotion of human rights.
UN Human Rights Council should, in conformity with its objective and mission, make a substantial contribution to preventing the human rights violations and improving the human rights situation in the world.
It is also important to constantly revise, supplement and adopt the international human rights conventions that respect the sovereignty of a nation and reflect noble aspiration, desire of humankind and requirements of the present times. Strictly maintaining objectivity, prudence and impartiality by the international human rights organizations in their activities is of importance.
In particular, the existing mechanisms such as periodic review of national report, inter-state communications and individual communication procedures, set up by the international conventions, should never be abused to serve for interference and other sinister purposes.
② Views and Principled Stand on International Human Rights Instruments
─ Assessment on International Human Rights Instruments
International human rights instrument is a part of the international laws which reflect the unanimous desire of countries and nations demanding uniform criteria and rules of conduct for the universal promotion of human rights and lawful requirements for the development of international relations.
International human rights instruments are adopted through agreement of countries. They stipulate provisions on obligations of each country, cooperation among countries, establishment of human rights-related organization and its principle and method of activities for the protection and promotion of human rights.
International human rights instruments are in other words “junior international law” for their immense scope and context and are divided into several categories according to the content and subject of application, coverage and specific theme, etc.
International human rights instruments are distinguished from other international laws as they cover all issues concerning human rights and lay down principles for its promotion.
International human rights instruments set forth as their basic principles the respect for dignity and value of person, prohibition of all forms of discrimination, ensurance of freedom and equality.
They play an important role for promoting human rights both at the national and international level.
Every country assumes obligation to respect for international human rights instruments and observe their requirements.
However, the international human rights instruments have shortcomings in the view of aspiration of humankind for defending and realizing independence and in the light of the developing reality.
Firstly, there are practices of reflecting dominationist demand and interests, pursuant to the western value, in formulation and adoption of the international human rights instruments and their contents, etc.
Due to the assertion and manoeuvres by the U.S. and other Western countries, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which are the main human rights instruments, did not mention several rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human rights.
Even though the trusteeship itself is a violation of human rights, some international human rights-related conventions pointed out so-called “promotion of human rights” under the trusteeship.
Apart from this, some conventions allow the application of the convention as a tool for interference in internal affairs of a sovereign state.
At present, in many cases the U.S. and other western countries abuse the international human rights instruments as a means to justify the suppression of their people as well as invasion, interference and human rights violations against other countries and nations.
The international human rights instruments were adopted, driven by unanimous desire and demand of mankind aspiring the promotion of human rights. Therefore, they must reflect the interests of popular masses and respect the sovereignty of each state.
So-called “cooperation” between the U.S. and other Western countries in the field of human rights is nothing but collaboration to infringe upon the sovereignty and interfere in internal affairs of other countries and put the world under their control.
Therefore, “treaty” or “agreement” on the promotion of human rights, agreed among these countries, cannot constitute, in essence, an international human rights instrument.
Secondly, the shortcoming of international human rights instruments is manifested in its failure to respond more effectively to expression of human rights abuses in all their forms and their catastrophic consequences.
Typical example is a crime of genocide.
The genocide is a crime aimed at cleansing the whole and some of national, ethnic and religious groups. Therefore, Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted as one the first international human rights conventions after the foundation of the UN.
Nevertheless, perpetration of genocide continued due to the aggression, domination policy, xenophobia, discard of other religions by the U.S. and other Western countries; which became one of serious international agenda and human rights issues.
Under such circumstances, the convention needs to be amended in such was as to detail various forms of genocide and take preventive measures.
In addition to this, it is necessary to adopt new international law and regulations which include strict punishment of perpetrators of genocide, combined with UN efforts.
In 1993, UN Security Council set up a provisional tribunal to investigate so-called “genocide” committed in former Yugoslavia and in 1994 expanded its jurisdiction to deal with the “genocide” in Rwanda.
What should be called in question is that UN, influenced by the U.S. and other Western countries, has failed to take steps to punish the crimes of genocide committed by these countries against other national, religious and racial groups on a worldwide scale.
It is none other than the U.S. and other Western countries who are prime perpetrators of human rights violations around the world including the crime of genocide; thus, they should be held accountable under international law.
─ Views on the Parties to the International Human Rights Instruments
Each state becomes a party to the international human rights instruments.
The reason why every state becomes a party to the international human rights instruments is that their regulations consist of agreements among countries and all issues arising among them are to be solved by themselves.
Sovereignty is basic factor which ensures the ability to exercise the right and fulfill obligation to the international human rights instruments and is a fundamental condition for defending dignity and equal rights of a state in the international field of human rights.
Only when state exercises sovereignty, can it resolve all issues related to human rights according to its own decision and judgment.
At present, since the U.S. and other Western countries intensify their attempt to interfere and rule other sovereign states, national independence is of very importance for each country to properly address human rights issues as a full-fledged party to the international human rights instruments.
The DPRK, as a sovereign state maintaining firm national independence, fully exercises its sovereignty in the international field of human rights and faithfully discharges its obligations to the international human rights instruments upon its own will.
Every nation is equal and has a legitimate right to self-determination to decide its destiny. Each nation deserves such right whether or not it founded its own sovereign state.
For the nation without a sovereign state, external relations in pursuit of protection and promotion of human rights fall under responsibility of an organization representing the nation. Therefore, an organization fighting for national liberation is also a party to the international human rights instruments.
In order for such organization to become a party to international human rights instruments, it should have a legitimate representation of the whole nation with leading organ and certain structure.
─ Fundamental Principles in the Interpretation of the International Human Rights Instruments
As international human rights conventions are adopted upon the agreement among states with different social systems, countries differ in their interpretation and application of the conventions.
Any of international human rights conventions can be interpreted and applied either properly or wrongly depending on the position of a given country.
As mentioned above, there are many irrational and outdated aspects in existing international human rights instruments that do not fully meet the aspiration of humankind for independence and fall behind the current development.
Under these conditions, setting a proper principle for the interpretation and application of the international human rights instruments and fully observing it is one of the very important theoretical and practical issues in ensuring the human rights at the international level.
The basic principle of the DPRK in the interpretation and application of the international human rights instruments is to adhere to the independent standpoint.
Each nation applies an international human rights convention based on its approval and ratification of the convention.
However, provisions set forth in the convention should not be applied without any consideration.
As the situation, condition and standard on human rights vary according to each country, it is necessary to consider the will and requirement of the country concerned in interpreting and applying the international human rights instruments.
Thus, countries make certain reservations in approving and ratifying an international human rights convention; apply the legal provisions under the convention according to its own requirements for promoting human rights and specific conditions of the country.
Each nation should not allow any pressure or interference by outside forces in the interpretation and application of the international human rights instruments.
Failing to resolve on its own the issues related to human rights under the pressure and influence of others means the deprivation of the right as a party to the international human rights instruments. Likewise, following others’ intention and acting against the interests of its people mean the abandonment of independent right.
Developments in many countries prove this fact. Under the pressure and coercion of the U.S. and other Western countries, these countries approved and applied several international human rights instruments against the demand of their people and in ignorance of domestic situation, resulting in social confusion and disorder, further aggravation of inequality.
As human rights abuses becomes ever more serious throughout the world, developing the cooperation in the international field of human rights to oppose human rights violations and establish a new international relations that ensures genuine human rights is no contradiction to independent standpoint.
However, what is utmost important in this case is to maintain a stance to resolve human rights issues on its own efforts.
As the international human rights instruments are applied in detail to the reality of each nation, preset viewpoint and dogmatic way of thinking restrict the creativity in the solution of the issues related to human rights and make it impossible to understand correctly the current situation and find proper solution to the human rights issues.
Thus, every nation should solve the issues for ensuring human rights by discarding dogmatic attitude toward the application of international human rights instruments and adopting the human rights policy, formulating its own law and taking other necessary measures on the basis of clear understanding of reality.
2) Faithful Implementation of the International Human Rights Conventions
① DPRK-acceded International Human Rights Instruments
Numerous international human rights instruments had been adopted so far for the protection and promotion of human rights.
Of these, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR – Covenant A), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Covenant B) and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and some others form key international human right instruments.
International human rights conventions to which the DPRK is a party are as follows:
o International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The DPRK acceded to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on July 30, 1981 and it took effect as from September 1981.
o International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
ICCPR, one of the comprehensive and core international human rights instruments, has been abused as a tool for the U.S. and other Western countries after the cold war to raise an issue of human rights situation in developing countries, impose their “human rights standards” and interfere in internal affairs.
Especially, on the 49th Session of the UN Human Rights Subcommittee, the U.S. and other Western countries openly attempted to slander and criticize the DPRK and interfere in its internal affairs by abusing the international human rights conventions such as ICCPR.
In this regard, the DPRK announced its decision to quit the ICCPR in August 1997, followed by written notification to the secretary-general of the United Nations.
○ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
The DPRK acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women on February 8, 2001 and it took effect as from March 29, 2001.
○ Convention on the Rights of the Child
The DPRK signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child on August 23, 1990 and ratified it on September 21, 1990.
○ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
DPRK signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and examination on its ratification is underway.
② Implementation of the International Human Rights Instruments to Which the DPRK is a Party
─ Submission of Periodic Reports and Participation in the Reviews
o International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The DPRK’s initial national report was submitted in November 1991, followed by its review. Its second report was submitted in November 2003 and reviewed.
o Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
Its first report was submitted in July 2005 and reviewed.
o Convention on the Rights of the Child
First report was submitted in June 1998, second report in June 2004 and 3rd & 4th report in January 2009 and reviewed.
*Mechanism on periodic review of national reports is a process through which each state regularly submits report on its implementation of the obligation to the relevant human rights convention and participates in the review of the report.
Such mechanism plays key role in protecting human rights and developing relations between member states and treaty bodies concerned.
However, some recommendations and comments raised during review and interactive dialog between the treaty body secretariat and state under review contain several issues including the ones that infringe upon sovereignty and interfere in other’s internal affairs.
o Universal Periodic Review (UPR) under the UN Human Rights Council
On December 2009, DPRK had its first cycle of the UPR, followed by its second review on May 2014. It has been sincerely implementing the recommendations made in these reviews.
At present, the DPRK is carrying out preparations for the ratification of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities such as incorporating components of the Convention into domestic law regarding people with disabilities.
And possibility of acceding to some other international conventions such as Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography is under discussion with institutions concerned.
─ Adoption and Amendment of National Laws and Other Measures
All the rights set out in the international human rights instruments are fully provided by the Socialist Constitution and human rights laws, thanks to the human rights policy and efforts of the Government of the popular and democratic socialist DPRK.
The rights provided by domestic human rights laws cover all the sectors of social life including politics, economy and culture and many of the rights are at the higher level compared with requirements set by international conventions and these rights are also realized at high level.
As a party to international human rights instruments, the DPRK specifies the requirements and contents of the international human rights conventions in text of domestic human rights-related laws and regulations, and applies them. Or components of international conventions are directly applied.
Since latter half of the 1990s, numerous local laws were either newly adopted or amended taking into account of the principles, fundamental idea and basic components of international human rights conventions while considering the demand of people, current situation of the country and the requirements of the developing era.
In the recent years, new laws including law on enforcement of universal 12-year compulsory education, law on child rights, law on women’s rights, law on protection of person with disabilities, law on labour protection, law on general secondary education and law on higher education were adopted and the laws on public health, copyright and dwelling houses were either amended or supplemented.
Other measures were taken for the promotion of rights in several sectors including legal and practical measures to reduce the ratio of penalty of reform through labour and the term of penalty of disciplining through labour by and large.
In January 2012, general amnesty was granted to the convicted persons and lenient policy was enforced such as exemption and reduction of penalties to the persons who have confessed their crime. This is the example of the provision of civil and political rights.
Criminal Procedure Law was amended and supplemented in 2011 to fully ensure the independence of justice and fair trial and measures were taken to punish or prevent human rights violations and abuse of power by law enforcement officials during the process of handling cases.
Law on complaints and petitions was amended and supplemented and increased the function and role of complaints-handling machinery set up in the institutions at all levels including people’s power organs so that they could settle complaints and petitions in a quick and fair manner.
With a view to further qualitative improvement of education and provide more effective guidance to the educational work, organization measures are being taken, including restructuring Ministry of Education to be Education Commission comprising Ministries of Higher Education and General Secondary Education.
On the occasion of Day of Human Rights, International Women’s Day, June 1st International Children’s Day, International Day of Old Persons, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, dissemination activities are carried out by TV, media and the press to introduce principles, requirements and contents of international human rights conventions highlighting those conventions to which the DPRK is a party. Several popular policies and measures are being taken to provide the peoples with adequate conditions for material and cultural life.
Research work on interrelations of the laws of international and internal human rights is being intensified in several organs including college of law in
Kim Il Sung University, law research institute in Academy of Social Science, Association for Human Rights Studies in DPRK and Association of Lawyers in DPRK.
The DPRK gives serious consideration to suggestions and recommendation by human rights treaty bodies for their implementation and takes measures to honour them in accordance with the realities of the country.
All these facts are showing firm willingness and sincere efforts of the DPRK to faithfully implement the international human rights instruments.
3) International Cooperation in the Field of Human rights
The DPRK attaches its due attention to the cooperation and exchange between international organizations and countries in the field of human rights.
─ The DPRK has maintained cooperation with the Amnesty International, International Association against Torture, Commission on the Rights of Child and Commission on Human Rights (UN Human Rights Council) and etc.
It provided convenience to members of Amnesty International, International Association against Torture, Commission on Rights of Child, and Special Rapporteur on violence against women of the then UN Commission on Human Rights to organize the meeting with law enforcement officials, meeting with persons at reform institution, and visit to reform institution and detention room to help their understanding of real situation of the country.
○ From 29th April to 4th May 1991, members of Amnesty International visited Pyongyang Municipal Court and met with the officials from the Supreme People’s Assembly, Research Institute of Law of the Academy of Social Science (now Research Institute for Legal Affairs) and director of Ministry of Social Security (now Ministry of People’s Security) and visited the security department of central district (now department of people’s security of central district)
In April 1995, on the occasion of Pyongyang international Sports & Cultural Festival, every convenience was provided to the members of Amnesty International who visited the DPRK.
○ From 23rd May to 6th June 1995, members of International Association against Torture visited many places in DPRK and had meetings with law enforcement officials.
○ From 15th to 18th July 1995, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women visited DPRK and met with the chairman of investigation committee on damage during Japanese occupation of Korea and had discussion with officials responsible for the issue of sexual slavery for Japanese Army, listening testimonies by the victims, and collected data concerning sexual slavery.
─ Broad dialogue and cooperation on human rights were held between DPRK and European Union.
After establishment of diplomatic relationship between DPRK and European Union, human rights experts participated in all bilateral political discussions to give clarifications to questions raised by the EU.
○ In June 2001, the preliminary contact took place for human rights dialogue between the DPRK and EU in Brussels, Belgium.
○ In September 2001, French parliamentarians from different political parties visited the reform institution and met the officials concerned.
○ In October 2001, political dialogue was held between the DPRK and EU.
○ In May 2002, head of division for Eastern Asia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Federal Republic of Germany visited the DPRK and met officials concerned and persons who served their term at the reform institution.
○ In June 2002, another round of political dialogue was held between DPRK and EU in Pyongyang.
○ On 13th June 2004, Minister of State for Asia-Pacific & Human rights at Foreign & Commonwealth Office, UK had talk on human rights with DPRK vice Minister of Foreign Affairs in Pyongyang.
The DPRK human rights experts had regular contacts with officials concerned of member states of the EU to inform the DPRK activities and position on human rights including submission of national reports on the implementation of international conventions.
In spite of our government’s sincere efforts and cooperation, in 2003 at the 59th meeting of UN Commission on Human Rights the EU unexpectedly tabled a “draft resolution” on the human rights situation in the DPRK and pursued hostile policy against the DPRK.
Since then, every year the EU forcibly adopted “draft resolutions” against the DPRK at the UN Commission on Human rights, at the UN Human Rights Council which replaced the Commission and at the UNGA, resulting in interruption of human rights dialogue between the DPRK and EU.
─ Recently DPRK makes its every effort to promote cooperation with international human rights treaty bodies and other countries in the field of human rights.
The DPRK responded with good faith and tolerance to the questions raised by UN human rights organizations including treaty bodies and NGOs.
The DPRK is fully committed to cooperation such as meeting delegations from other countries including the EU at their request and informing them of the government’s principled position on human rights so as to remove doubts.
Since 2003, adoption of “resolution” on human rights against the DPRK every year, followed by the setup of the “Commission of Inquiry” and fabrication of its “report,” has nothing to do with international cooperation for promotion of human rights but is a product of political confrontation and plot by the US and its satellite forces.
Political confrontation in international field of human rights can never be compatible with genuine dialogue and cooperation on human rights. If these were tolerated, this would only produce distrust and enmity between countries and international promotion of human rights would never be addressed.
It is DPRK’s constant standpoint to reject politicization, selectivity and double standards of human rights and to promote dialogue and cooperation under the principles of respecting for sovereignty, non-interference in other’s internal affairs, and maintaining impartiality and objectivity.
Adhering to these principles, the DPRK is committed to fulfil its obligation to international human rights conventions and promote genuine cooperation and dialogue.
4. Main Obstacles to the Promotion of Human Rights in the DPRK
This part describes about hostile policies of the US and western countries towards the DPRK and anti-DPRK human rights campaign which is the main obstacle to the protection and promotion of human rights in the DPRK.
1) Hostile Policy of the United States and Its Attempts to Stifle the DPRK
(1) Hostile Policy of the United States
The US hostile policy against DPRK since its foundation is the most serious external factor and the biggest obstacle which hampers earnest desire of the people for genuine human rights, independent development of the country and efforts for peaceful construction.
The US hostile policy against the DPRK is tantamount to aggression policy and war policy to take over Korean peninsula at all costs out of criminal purpose.
─ Geographically, Korean peninsula is the gateway for maritime powers to the continent and for continental powers an exit to the ocean.
For this reason, the US regarded take over and control of the Korean peninsula as a vital link in its policy of realizing its strategy to dominate the world. After occupying south Korea, the US more openly revealed his ambition to dominate the whole Korean peninsula.
In August 1945, right after liberation of Korea, MacArthur, commander of the US Army in Far East who practically controlled the US policy towards Korea, said that in case of occupation of whole Korea, “We will be able to break the only supply line which connects Siberia of Soviet Union to the southern part into pieces. We can control whole territory between Vladivostok and Singapore”. (Modern History of USA, page 140).
Dulles, the former US Secretary of State told that Korea is a “dagger” which cuts “lump meat of Asia”.
From the first day of the US invasion in south Korea, with the criminal purpose of taking over Korean peninsula, the US has never wanted establishment of independent sovereign state by Korean people and targeted northern half of Korean peninsula as the enemy and put the hostile policy against the DPRK into practice.
The US established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and other eastern European countries which had different social systems and ideologies, but far from establishing the diplomatic relations with DPRK, it refused even to use official name of DPRK.
Despite the fact that the sovereignty of the DPRK was recognized with its membership to the United Nations in 1991 and it has diplomatic relations with 166 countries representing 86% of member countries of the United Nations, only the US refuses to recognize DPRK as a partner to coexist in international community.
Out of 193 member states of UN, there are only few states including DPRK which have no diplomatic relations with the US. These countries are subject to the extreme hostile policy of the United States, unprecedented in contemporary international relation.
One could also see concentrated expression of the US hostile policy against the DPRK through the US turning away its face to the demand of DPRK to replace the armistice agreement with peace treaty.
In modern history, there are no such countries like the DPRK and the United States that are still in belligerent state in such a long period of over 60 years. Korean Armistice Agreement which was concluded on 27th July 1953 is not the treaty ending the war, to say nothing of the peace treaty.
Armistice agreement was the temporary measure aimed at withdrawing all foreign troops from Korean peninsula and securing the durable peace.
But the US intentionally took the road of prolonging armistice state.
In November 1953, US formulated its final goal as preventing “communism” on Korean peninsula by making south Korea as its military alliance and maintaining armistice system until realization of “Pro-US reunification” (Decision No.170 National Security Council)
According to this goal, in June 1954, US intentionally broke down the Geneva conference on peaceful solution of Korean issue and steadily aggravated situation of Korean peninsula while nullifying systematically key articles of armistice agreement through introduction of latest war hardware including nuclear weapons and conducting all kinds of aggressive war exercises.
There are innumerable cases like “Pueblo incident”, “Panmunjom incident” that the US escalated tension to wage a war on Korean peninsula.
(“Pueblo incident” is the incident that US intruded armed spyship “Pueblo” deep into the territorial waters of DPRK and perpetrated espionage acts against DPRK. When the spy ship was captured by KPA navy force, the US pushed the situation to the brink of war.
* “Panmunjom incident” is the incident provoked by the US according to pre-arranged plan on August 18, 1976 in the joint security area in Panmunjom with a view of making excuse to wage a war.)
The US denied all peace proposals and initiatives such as proposal for establishment of peace treaty between DPRK and US (1970s), proposal to let south Korea participate in DPRK-US dialogue (1980s) and new proposal for establishment of peace building system(1990s) initiated by DPRK.
In the second half of 1990s, four party talks (DPRK, PRC, US and south Korea) had been held without any result due to the insincere attitude of US.
In a new century, US also turned away its face from the proposal of DPRK to announce the end of war with participation of all parties related to armistice agreement and proposal to start talks, at the earliest possible moment, in order to change armistice agreement into peace treaty on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.
In a word, the United States position remains unchanged, that is, it considers any peace treaty between DPRK and US as premature and wants to maintain the armistice state.
Maintenance of armistice situation is the main obstacle in creation of peaceful atmosphere for the promotion of Human rights.
Due to the persistent manoeuvres of the United States, which escalates tension on Korean peninsula taking DPRK as enemy and violating the armistice agreement, rights of the people for peace and development have been seriously jeopardized and Korean people have been living in constant danger of war.
The intention and unchanged policy of the United States is that it will continue to regard the DPRK as a belligerent party and enemy and it will take over the whole Korean peninsula by means of military invasion at any time.
─ The hostile policy of the United States against DPRK is a vicious system subversion and anti-socialist policy, starting from constitutional physical negative feeling toward the Republic that advances holding high banner of anti-imperialism and independence.
The reason why the US adheres frantically to the hostile policy against the DPRK lies in that it will not recognize political and economic system of the Republic but destroy the social system of the country and the socialism through international sanctions and pressure, and obliterate socialism on earth in the long run.
The ratio between the DPRK and the US in terms of size of the territory is 1:78 and 1:10 in terms of population size.
This United States, with its followers, was on a rampage for a long time to obliterate the socialist Korea at a go, but Korea kept walking straight road of socialism.
In particular, even after the collapse of socialism in former USSR and the Eastern Europe, DPR Korea held high the red flag as before and launched a dynamic march to pioneer brilliant future of socialism.
Dr. Bill Cranel, senior researcher of the International Relations Institute, Georgetown University, US, said, “North Korea is a military entity that can challenge most toughly to the Unites States in today’s world,” and stressed, “The socialist entity of North Korea is the most dangerous existence that can make a breakthrough in the international order of new age led by the United States.”
VOA of the US indicated, “It cannot be denied that, on this earth, the only one that challenges directly and speak up as they wish to the United States is North Korea. In 1960s – 70s when the communist movement existed, North Korea was virtually the only one that threatened and challenged the United States. Even today when nobody dares to comment on the US, it is none other than North Korea who tries to subdue Washington.”
The US regards the mass-centred Korean-style socialism as the greatest “cancer” since the DPRK is struggling actively to safeguard justice and truth in international arena by holding high the banner of independence, challenging the US who clamours about “unipolar world” relying on its military power,
Hence, it is clinging more eagerly to the hostile policy against the DPRK to undermine and obliterate the socialism of the DPRK at all costs.
The United States at one point stated that “The United States does not have hostile attitude toward the DPRK and is ready to take measures to improve the bilateral relations in the spirit of mutual respect on sovereignty and equality.”(DPRK-US High-Level Talks, 29th Feb, 2012), and at other times stated that “The United States will not use forces including the nuclear weapons and will not threaten with these forces.”(DPRK-US Joint Statement, 11th June, 1993)
However, these are nothing more than hypocrisy to hide the hostile policy of the US toward DPRK, and on the contrary, after the proclamation of these declarations and stands, the level of US hostility toward the Republic did not go down but further intensified.
Recently, it even unveiled the hypocritical mask of “We have no hostile intention,” and is now threatening and blackmailing openly with the remark of “Iraqi-style collapse” and “Libya-style victory” and also saying that it will keep pressure until the DPRK chooses another road and that it will cooperate gladly if the DPRK changes its road.
With these, it is misleading the public opinion to put a check on the road of our Republic with government-controlled press who bluster about so-called “change”.
It is also continuously committing the extra-large provocations that violate and infringe upon the independent rights of the sovereign state and rights for peaceful development of the Korean people, picking on unjustly the launch of peaceful satellites of the Republic.
(2) War and Aggressive Manoeuvres
Korean people love peace and desire happy life and genuine human rights, but Korean people’s desire has not yet been realized owing to U.S. manoeuvres.
The Korean War and the continuous military war drills afterwards are the crimes against human rights as they trample upon the rights of people to live and develop independently in a peaceful environment.
―Provocation of the Korean War and violations of Human Rights by the US
The US provoked Korean War on June 25, 1950 and drew troops of 15 different satellite forces under the name of UN. During the war period, it violated war laws and customs blatantly to bring unimaginable pains and misfortunes to the Korean people.
There are customs and laws which ban assault on and destruction of civilians and civilian targets in any war. Nevertheless, uttering that it would wipe 78 cities of DPRK off the earth surface, US bombarded and shelled in tremendous scale and even used weapons which were banned by the international convention without hesitation to turn the whole territory of northern half of the Republic into ashes.
It bombarded and shelled nearly 428,000 bombs in Pyongyang only, more than its population and 18 bombs per 1 ㎢ in DPRK.
Bombardment and shelling done by US were the most barbarous, unprecedented in the world war history in terms of their targets, scale, form and ways.
Due to the US barbarous bombardment and shelling, 50,941 factories and enterprises buildings, 28,632 buildings of education facilities, 4,534 buildings of health service like hospital and clinics, 8,163 buildings of press and cultural service, and 2,077,226 dwelling houses were completely destroyed.
4,897km of railway, 4,009km of road, 1,109km of bridge, 1,715 reservoirs and its facilities were destroyed and damaged causing tremendous human, material and environmental damage, and 563,755 hectares of arable land were devastated and 155,500 hectares of paddy field vanished.
Furthermore, precious cultural assets of Korean nation, national assets which cannot be compensated by tremendous wealth, were brutally destroyed and robbed.
During 3-year war, US troops massacred innocent and peaceful civilians in the most brutal and cruel manner in human history.
Massacres were committed in every region of the northern half of the DPRK occupied by US troops; they used every sort of the most brutal and cruel means beyond imagination of humankind like shooting, burying alive, burning, skinning off, quartering and so on, regardless of sex and age.
In particular, in Sinchon county, South Hwanghae Province alone, they killed 35 383 men, one fourth of its population.
US launched full-scale germ warfare which was banned by international law, and even used large number of chemical weapons, a kind of WMD.
From early January to March, 1952, they airdropped germ bombs for 804 times over 169 regions in northern half of the DPRK. Those bombs contained many kinds of harmful insects like flies, mosquitoes, fleas that had terrible infectious bacteria like pest, cholera and typhoid. From February 1951 to July 1953, they used chemical weapons to northern and frontier regions like South Phyongan Province, Kangwon Province, and South Hwanghae Province for tens of times. These notorious germ and chemical warfare killed many people.
In the northern half of the Republic, more than 1, 230,000 innocent men were killed mercilessly by the US beasts in the wartime.
As mentioned above, during the war US gave Korean people untold misfortune and pain which became wounds of grudge, unhealed up to now.
―Aggressive War Exercises continued for more than Half a Century
After the Korean War, the US has continuously perpetrated on aggressive war drill racket against DPRK and hindered realization of our people’s independence.
Even before the ink was dry on the armistice agreement, US insanely practiced aggressive war drills against DPRK and increased its scale and duration systematically.
In the past 60-odd years, the constant war drills staged by US and south Korea warmongers were the largest ones in scale and the extremely dangerous ones in its contents.
“RIMPAC”, “Cobra Gold” and “Cope North” are well known as the world large-scale military drills which take a week or a month for long and they are conducted once every 2 years or after more than 2 years.
In terms of the context and mode of drills, they do not target specific state but put main emphasis on normal military exchange, exercises aimed at strengthening the ability of cooperative operation, exercises by military forces and services, marine rescue and “anti-terrorism” disaster relief and so on.
In comparison with those, tens of thousands of massive US forces from the US mainland, Pacific region and Japan as well as US aggressive forces in south Korea and south Korean puppet forces take part in “Key Resolve” and “Foal Eagle” joint military exercises in Korean Peninsula. Even satellite forces such as UK, Australia, Columbia, Canada and Denmark participate in military exercises.
Even though, “Ulji Freedom Guardian” Joint Military Exercise includes four hundred thousand or five hundred thousand of huge forces including US military troops in south Korea, US reinforcement troop, ground, navy, air forces of south Korea and government organs and county and self-governing bodies, etc.
The fact proves that huge troops involved in drills are more than enough to wage a war.
Since the armistice agreement has been signed, the number of various war drills and joint military exercises staged by US and south Korean puppet forces revealed to the public are more than 18,000.
In terms of content of the war manoeuvres, target of war exercises is DPRK, “Pyongyang occupation” is openly cried out and war exercises include aggressive and provocative manoeuvres such as precision strike to command and strategic places, removal of nuclear weapons, landing and surprise attacks, urban warfare and maintenance of public peace after occupation.
Entering into new 2010s, the US openly said the operational plan of joint military exercise against the DPRK is to change “North Korean government” including operation targeted to impair dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK and even practices simulation training.
All these facts self explains that joint military exercises by US and south Korean war maniacs are nothing but a preliminary war and trial war targeting DPRK.
The US and south Korean puppet forces have been continuously practicing aggressive war drills while strengthening war capability of south Korean puppet forces through systematic handover of the large quantity of latest war hardware and weapons.
In the past 60 years, due to the US reckless aggressive war rackets, Korean Peninsula turned into the most dangerous hotspot zone where it can smell the heaviest gun powders in the world.
This situation becomes grave challenge to the enjoyment of human rights of the people and forces the DPRK to make more efforts to defend the country and independent rights of its people.
(3) Economic Sanctions
Economic sanctions and blockades are one of the manoeuvres of interference that the arrogant US is employing against other countries to interfere in their internal affairs and method of strangling.
For decades, economic sanctions and blockades by US and its satellite forces against DPRK are extremely persistent and wicked.
In a word, US-sponsored economic sanctions and blockades against DPRK are intended to economically stifle the DPRK and destabilize the country to topple the government.
The world-scale economic sanctions and blockades against DPRK were not started because of US revenge to the DPRK after its defeat in the Korean War. Sanctions were imposed after the Korea was liberated from the Japanese imperialist colonial rule.
Sanctions were imposed viciously through domestic law, international convention and international economic organizations.
― Economic Sanctions through Federal Legislation
After the end of World War II, the US imposed same economic sanctions against DPRK which were applied against other socialist countries and fabricated its national laws aimed at economic sanctions during the Korean War.
The US fabricated many laws such as “Export Control Law” (June 28, 1950), “Trading with the Enemy Act” (December 17, 1950), “Trade Convention Extension Law” (September 1, 1951) and prohibited export, commerce and trade exchange as well as treatment of the most favoured nation.
After defeat in Korean War, US committed persistent and wicked economic sanctions and blockade towards the DPRK through twenty different kinds of laws such as “Export Control Law”, “External Aid Law”, and “Export & Import Banking Law” and so on.
Through the US economic sanction laws against the DPRK, any US goods and technical services except official bulletins were not allowed to export to the DPRK in neither direct nor indirect way through third state without permission of US State Department. They also prohibited any help as regards to goods of export and import for the DPRK as well as service export.
No matter whether he/she lives either in home country or in other countries, he/she is not allowed to commerce with the DPRK citizens.
Properties of the DPRK citizens in US were all frozen and if DPRK banks have settled accounts by USD, US banks had to block all money related.
Compatriots in US are not allowed to transfer money, even 1 USD to relatives in DPRK or for other purposes.
The US prohibits credit loan, external aid and investment from individual investor and if successor or bereaved family member is a citizen of DPRK, not only the properties in US are blocked but it also does not provide the life insurance fee.
In case, citizen of US visits DPRK, he can only pay accommodation, food and personnel consumers for travel but cannot pay even 1 USD for other purposes.
Additionally, US visitors going home after visit to Korea are allowed to buy goods in DPRK below the amount of USD 100.
Here is simple example that shows how persistent and wicked economic sanction of the US is. The US government fines 500,000USD and enforces up to 12 years prison sentence to US citizen, organ and organization that trades or undergoes financial transactions with DPRK.
― Economic Sanctions through International Organizations and Treaties
In November 1949, US set up “The Coordinating Committee for Export to Communist Area”(COCOM) and included DPRK as its target. US and its satellite countries committed collective economic sanction and blockade against DPRK.
Through this committee, US made a list of prohibited export items such as strategic materials, hi-tech machines, electronic devices and semiconductor devices and strictly controlled export to DPRK.
If a member of this committee is going to export any products to DPRK, he should have to get approval from all other members. Without corresponding procedure, he would receive heavy economic sanction.
On 12th July 1996, the US fabricated new Wassenar Arrangement of Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies which as many as 33 states joined in place of COCOM in order to strengthen the collective economic sanction and blockade by gathering all sorts of good-for-nothings more. The US was ever more frantic in its control of export of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies to the independent countries including DPRK.
In particular, instead of apologizing to DPRK for infringing upon the right of peaceful use of outer space, the US tried to adopt “resolution of sanction with teeth” in UN Security Council and turn economic sanction into “eternal international sanction” against DPRK like a thief crying “stop thief!”
Consequently, in UN Security Council the sanctions resolution had been changed for the worse in many occasions, which denied independent right of DPRK as sovereignty state, ignoring international practices concerned with satellite launching.
The sanctions resolution did not limit items and extent of goods to be sanctioned and intends to put barriers to everything helpful to enjoyment of human rights by DPRK citizens and bring about humanitarian crisis in DPRK.
Sanctions resolution is composed of vague and dubious words and expressions with high political colure far from high frequency terminologies used in UN meetings such as “transparency” and “responsibility”
The US economic sanctions and blockades towards DPRK by stirring up its followers, obstruct the right of development of sovereign state and impose negative influence to enjoyment of human rights. They are anti-human rights and anti-popular in character and crime of genocide far surpassing the war-time mass slaughter.
(4) Nuclear Issue
― Origin of Nuclear Issue on the Korean Peninsula
No nation in the world has been exposed to the nuclear threat so directly and for so long time as the Korean nation. As far as Korean nation is concerned, the threat by nuclear weapons is, by no means, an abstract notion but practical problem as well as concrete experience.
Koreans suffered directly from the US nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the death toll of Koreans resulting from the abovementioned attacks is the second largest in the world behind only that of Japanese.
Since Koreans had already had the first-hand experience of the calamities caused by atom bombs, the nuclear blackmail by the US in the days of the Korean War was perceived as a recurring nightmare.
On November 30, 1950, the then US President Truman publicly mentioned about the use of atom bombs in the Korean War. Subsequently, on the next day, an order was issued to the US Strategic Air Command, requesting it to “put bombers on stand-by for an immediate atom bomb attack in the Far East”.
In December 1950, McArthur, the then Commander of the US Forces in the Far East, made a sabre-rattling remark, saying that “radioactive corridor will be set up in the northern part of Korea covering the area between the east coast and the west coast. No living thing will be found in this area for 60 or 120 years.”
This nuclear blackmail resulted in the mass exodus of “atom bomb-driven refugees” from the north to the south of the Korean Peninsula.
Many families who found it impossible to move to the south had, at least, their husbands or sons take refuge in the south for the purpose of preserving the family line. This was how millions of “separated families” came into being; they now live scattered in the north and south of the Korean Peninsula.
The Korean people are not only the direct victims of the US nuclear weapons but also the objectives of the continued nuclear threats by the US today.
In the latter half of the 1950s, the rise of anti-nuclear movement in Japan jeopardized the fate of the pro-US government. The US, in an attempt to buttress the then Japanese government, transferred its nuclear weapons from Japan to south Korea.
With the open declaration of arming the US forces in south with nuclear weapons in July, 1957, the US dispatched the nuclear missile “Honest John” and 280mm atomic cannons on January 29, 1958.
It means that the US “denuclearized” Japan at the sacrifice of the Korean Peninsula.
Since then the number of nuclear weapons the US deployed in south Korea steadily increased. In the middle of 1970s, more than 1,000 pieces of US nuclear weapons found their way into south Korea.
Today, south Korea turned into the US nuclear frontline base in the Far East and frontline military base where tens of thousands of US military forces and various types of 1720 nuclear weapons are deployed.
Nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula has been raised since the US dispatchment of nuclear weapons to south Korea.
―Persistent Nuclear Threats
The US is the ringleader which incurred nuclear issues on Korean Peninsula. It is also the nuclear fanatics that directly threatened the lives of Korean nation through the persistent nuclear threat campaign.
The US began to stage joint military exercises with south Korea for the purpose of using nuclear weapons in an actual war of aggression against the DPRK.
In 1969, the first US-south Korea joint military exercise for a nuclear war, labeled “Operation Focus Retina”, was staged. Ever since, the joint military exercises for nuclear war have been conducted on an annual basis for more than 40 years and up to this date, changing its label from time to time – “Freedom Vault”, “Team Spirit”, “RSOI”, “Key Resolve”, “Foal Eagle”, “Ulji Freedom Guardian”, etc.
As a result, even the post-war generation of the DPRK had to live under the threat of US nuclear weapons deployed in south Korea for action that targeted them; they had to spend their lifetime, exposed to the danger of a nuclear war. This is the grim reality of the Korean Peninsula, stemming from the nuclear threat.
Since the end of cold war, the US, posing as the “World’s Superpower”, made no attempt to disguise their manoeuvres of disarming the DPRK, employing the power of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and UNSC while conducting the nuclear war exercises in south Korea.
The US nuclear threats towards the DPRK were further intensified with the start of Bush administration in a new century.
In March 2002, the Bush administration published the “Nuclear Posture Review” that included the DPRK on the list of “Targets for Nuclear Pre-emptive Strike”, endangering the security of the DPRK with the extreme nuclear threats.
The nuclear weapons, deployed in increasing numbers in south Korea by the US every year, are more than enough to bring nuclear catastrophe to the Korean Peninsula.
The density of nuclear weapons deployed in south Korea exceeds that of the NATO region by five times and all kinds of nuclear weapons ranging from the “first generation” atomic bombs to the “third generation” neutron bombs are deployed – each with its own mission.
What should be concerned here is that the US is free to use nuclear weapons in south Korea. In order to use nuclear weapons in Europe, it should have prior consultation with NATO members. On the contrary, no such consultation is needed in south Korea and instead, the decision of the US commander is regarded as the final.
The US ever increases the intensity of nuclear threats to the DPRK by dint of its military bases around the Korean Peninsula including the US and Japan.
The US owns hundreds of military bases in Japan, especially in Okinawa, nuclear strike units and mobile striking forces are concentrated. All the US forces and military bases in East Asian Region including Japan are fully prepared to launch nuclear strikes on any region or target in the DPRK.
The current situation brings obstacles to clearing away dark clouds of nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula and constantly threatens the Korean people’s rights to live.
― DPRK’s Counter-Measures
The DPRK Government made all the strenuous efforts to ease the tensed situation on the Korean Peninsula, setting the removal of nuclear threats by US as its precondition.
The efforts of the government of the DPRK aimed at removing the nuclear threat posed by the US went through three distinct phases.
In the first phase of its efforts, the government of the DPRK endeavored to eliminate the US nuclear threat by establishing a nuclear-free zone through peaceful dialogue and negotiations.
In 1959, the government of the DPRK proposed that an atomic weapon-free peace zone be set up in Asia. In 1981, it put forward the proposal of establishing a nuclear-free zone in North East Asia. In 1986, it proposed that the Korean Peninsula be denuclearized and made active efforts to this end.
On January 10, 1984, the government of the DPRK offered to include south Korean authorities in the DPRK-US talks aimed at removing the danger of nuclear war. On June 23, 1986, it released a government statement and solemnly declared that it would not test, produce, store and bring in nuclear weapons, that it would not tolerate installation of any foreign military bases including bases for nuclear weapons and that it would not allow the passage of foreign nuclear weapons through its territory, territorial air and waters.
However, the US turned a blind eye to our efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and posed increasing nuclear threat to the DPRK.
In the second phase of its efforts, the government of the DPRK strengthened its endeavor to eliminate the nuclear threat posed by the US by relying on international law.
In 1978, the US, the then Soviet Union and the UK, depositories of the NPT, announced a statement on “negative security assurance” – albeit de bene esse – stating that they would not use nuclear weapons against the non-nuclear states that are parties to the NPT. The government of the DPRK acceded to the NPT in December, 1985, with expectation that this would help remove the nuclear threat posed by the US against the DPRK.
When the US promised to suspend the “Team Spirit,” joint military exercise for nuclear war, the DPRK, pursuant to relevant provisions of the NPT, actively cooperated with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in six ad hoc inspections during the period of May 1992 to February 1993.
However, the US began to voice the so-called “suspicion on nuclear development” even before the completion of these ad hoc inspections and rigged up the “Resolution on special inspection” that targeted not only nuclear facilities but also our military installations of sensitive nature by instigating foul forces within the IAEA.
In an attempt to force “special inspection” on the DPRK, the US openly threatened the DPRK with nuclear weapons by resuming the “Team Spirit” it had temporarily suspended.
On March 12, 1993, the DPRK declared that it would, pursuant to Article 10 of the NPT, withdraw from the NPT in order to safeguard national sovereignty and security and duly notified its decision to the depositories of the NPT.
The government of the DPRK took unilateral measures to temporarily suspend the entry into force of our decision to withdraw from the NPT as the US consented to hold the DPRK-US talks.
The DPRK-US Agreed Framework was signed on October 21, 1994 in the days of the Clinton administration. However, the Bush administration that later came to power unilaterally scrapped the Agreed Framework. The Bush administration even accused the DPRK of forming “an axis of evil” in the State of the Union Address dated January 30, 2002. Besides, the administration conducted frenzied nuclear military exercises, revealing its inveterate rejection towards the DPRK.
It was clear, at this point, that all our efforts, be it through dialogue or reliance on the international law, failed.
The only choice left for the DPRK was to “counter the threat of nuclear weapons with nuclear weapons”.
On January 10, 2003, the government of the DPRK took a resolute measure for self-defense by lifting the 10 year-long moratorium on its decision to withdraw from the NPT, and thus finally pulled out of the NPT.
No longer bound by the NPT, the DPRK changed its policy direction, on an utterly legitimate basis, by weaponizing the entire portion of plutonium extracted from the pilot nuclear power station that had been generating electricity.
In October, 2006, three years after its withdrawal from the NPT, the DPRK conducted the first nuclear test which was followed by the second test in May 2009.
Therefore, an end was put to the nuclear imbalance in Northeast Asia where the DPRK had been the only “blank” with neither nuclear weapons nor the protection of nuclear umbrella.
The mounting nuclear threats imposed by the US pushed the DPRK to possess nuclear weapons.
It was the inevitable choice for the DPRK to possess the nuclear weapons as its last counter-measures in the fight to denuclearize and ease the tension on the Korean Peninsula. The nuclear deterrence also serves as means to deter the US aggression to the country and nation until the world and the whole Korean Peninsula is free from the nuclear weapons.
2) Anti-DPRK Human Rights Campaign by the US and its Followers
(1) Reactionary Nature of the Anti-DPRK Human Rights Campaign
The US and its followers conduct the smear campaign against the DPRK over the human rights issues with its intention to mislead the public opinion and raise the non-existent “human rights issues” in the DPRK as the international issue. They also intend to defame the image of the DPRK in the international arena and dismantle the socialist system under the pretext of “protection of human rights”.
What they have learned is that the military threats were helpless to dismantle the system and this is the another reason that they formed a group to raise the “human rights issues” as the international one.
The smear campaign conducted by the US is none other than the fascist manoeuvres to change the political mode and social system of the DPRK into their own way, pursuing the policy of internatinalizing the “human rights issues” in the DPRK. It is also the brigandish act of destroying the international human rights mechanisms.
It is regarded that the promotion and protection of human rights is the matter that belongs to state’s sovereignty and internal affairs for the reason that it mainly affected by the social system, economic development and cultural traditions.
Human rights issue is completely the matter of a state in achieving the international cooperation in the field of human rights, according to the UN Charter. Therefore respect of sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs should be ensured in the protection of human rights.
“Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty” was adopted at the 20th UN General Assembly in December 1965 and it says that “No State has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever in the internal or external affairs of any other State. Consequently, armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the State or against its political, economic and cultural elements, are condemned”.
In order to fulfil the unanimous desire and demand of all the countries for independence, the principle of securing the world peace and developing the friendship and cooperation between countries should be maintained.
The US smear campaign under the banner of “protection of human rights” can be characterized as the moves to infringe and stamp out the sovereign rights by misusing international cooperation and collaboration and finally overthrow the socialist system.
(2) The Criminal Moves by the US and its followers to internationalize “the DPRK Human Rights Issue”
① United States
In the confrontation between the DPRK and US, the US learned that it was impossible to overthrow the people-centred system by means of political and military threats and pressure as well as the economic blockade. What they found next was the human rights issue.
Even in the past period, the US made several attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of the DPRK and change its political system under the pretext of “Protection of Human Rights”.
“North Korean Human Rights Acts” enacted by US Congress in 2004 is a typical example. This abnormal “Act” aims, under the pretext of promoting “human rights”, “democracy” and “market economy” in the DPRK, at inciting dissatisfaction among the citizens with their Government and thus let them to change their system and overthrow their Government. The “Act” calls for 12-hour-per-day radio broadcasting in Korean language against the DPRK, massive input of mini-radios tuned to its broadcasting, inciting the citizens to “defection” and “immigration” to and “asylum” in the United States, as well as financial and material support for these programs.
* The US administration appropriated 24 million US$ for this “Act”.
Non-governmental “human rights” organizations are being mobilized to fulfil this task with the financial support from the US administration.
But currently they are not getting successes that they expected due to the powerful counter-measures taken by the DPRK.
This is the main factor that pushed the US to make international of the “human rights issues” in the DPRK under the name of “protection of human rights”. The US wants to seize initiative in the offense of the DPRK’s human rights issues, creating the international and collective pressure.
The “Human Rights Reports” released annually by the US is spread widely to the world, full of distorted data on human rights situation in the DPRK.
The US formed a group with its followers to forcibly invent the “Commission of Inquiry” on the human rights situation in the DPRK and release the “COI report”.
This “report” is dedicated to bringing harm to the image of the DPRK and creating international pressure on the DPRK so as to dismantle the socialist system and satisfy the US interests.
That is why many countries including a number of western press expressed their concerns over the “report” due to the lack of fairness and credibility, saying how this “report” can be circulated in UN.
On several occasions, the DPRK made its stand clear that it doesn’t and will not acknowledge or accept the anti-DPRK “resolution” and the “Special Rapporteur” and “Commission of Inquiry” – the outcome of the “resolution” – and their reports.
② European Union (EU)
After the formation of diplomatic relations between the DPRK and EU, the Government maintained extensive dialogue and cooperation with the EU, giving importance to the cooperation and exchange in the field of promoting the human rights.
The replies by the DPRK to the EU’s written questions prove the sincere attitudes of the Government towards the dialogue and cooperation; the written questions were characterized with the interference in the internal affairs.
The EU tries to use the human rights dialogue as the opportunity to interfere in the internal affairs of the DPRK, ignoring its sincere attitudes and efforts towards the protection and promotion of human rights. As the EU could not make their goals because of the DPRK’s principled stand, they shut down the dialogue with us and brought the “human rights issues” of the DPRK to the UN.
The anti-DPRK “resolution” brought up by EU in the 59th Commission on Human Rights held in 2003 is the live example.
Every country has its own history and traditions of human rights as well as its own values.
The DPRK makes no comment on the EU’s viewpoint on the human rights and their human rights mechanisms because the above mentioned viewpoint reflects the views of their own people and the DPRK respects it.
Nevertheless, the EU pushed the DPRK to change its own human rights mechanisms into the Western style, putting them as the preconditions for dialogue and cooperation. The EU also forcibly adopts the anti-DPRK “resolution” on human rights in the UN Human Rights Council and UN General Assembly to achieve their goal.
All the “resolutions” are filled with the contents of eliminating the ideology and system that has been chosen and maintained by the Korean people and defaming the DPRK instead of protecting and promoting the genuine human rights.
Despite of this fact, the EU and US, the co-sponsors, argue that they are aimed at promoting “cooperation” and “collaboration” for the “protection and promotion of human rights”.
The interference in internal affairs and “collaboration” and “cooperation” are incompatible.
Japan still remains as the criminal state for the reason that the crimes they have committed against the Korean people matches as the crimes against the humanity. They still have the responsibility of making apologies and compensations towards the Korean people in the human rights mechanisms.
Although 70 years have passed since its defeat, Japan’s crimes against humanity still remain in the memory of the Korean people today as it was unprecedented in all ages and countries.
Since its defeat, Japan never made sincere apologies for their evil crimes and instead, they ran amuck to deny their past crimes and flee from responsibility.
Some forces of Japan are branding the DPRK as the human rights abuser by misusing the “abduction issue.”
Japanese authorities make desperate efforts to implicate other states into the anti-DPRK campaign in UN human rights fields and participate in the invention of the mentioned “human rights resolution”.
The human rights racket against the DPRK is yet another criminal act to calm down the international accusations and condemnation on the past human rights crimes committed by the Japan and make harm to the DPRK’s image as well as to realize the old dream of “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” under the pretext of “human rights issues”.
④ south Korea
The south Korean authorities go mad to defame the dignity and system of the DPRK, taking part in the US smear campaign against the DPRK’s human rights.
The Intelligence Service and all other plot-breeding organizations guide the people to south Korea and bribe them to talk evil about the DPRK in international arena. They also play the role of “witness” in the slanderous propaganda, completely forgetting that they are the people who committed crimes in the DPRK and fled to other countries, leaving their family.
The south Korean authorities used the dirty and worthless human scums as the “witness” in fabricating the anti-DPRK human rights report and instigated them to slander the socialist system of the DPRK in parliaments and debates held in US, UK, Switzerland and etc. Furthermore, they made films and published books, full of the testimonies given by these scums.
The south Korean authorities showed “Hana Centre” to several ambassadors in south Korea to mislead the public opinion against the DPRK over the world; the “Hana Centre” is devoted to brainwash the human scums and train them as the brigade in the malicious propaganda against the DPRK.
Under the protection of the south Korean authorities, hundreds of thousands of leaflets, defaming the system and dignity of the DPRK, were spread around the areas of the demarcation line from Cholwon in Kangwon Province of south Korea, Ryonchon and Paju in Kyonggi Province and etc. Meanwhile, the authorities flocked together with the outside forces to intensify the smear campaign against the DPRK on the human rights in UN and cosponsored with them in the UN Human Rights Council to prepare falsified document on the DPRK’s human rights, claiming that “evidence is needed for the international community to take military action concerning with the human rights of the north”.
What’s more, south Korean authorities volunteered for the installment of “field-based structure of north Korean human rights” and tried desperately for its installment in south Korea.
Whatever the US and its followers slander the human rights situation in the DPRK, they can’t fabricate the actual situation in the DPRK and what’s more, they can’t dismantle the socialist system that ensures the protection and promotion of the genuine human rights of the Korean people.
5. Prospects for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in the DPRK
This part shows how the Government makes efforts to make policy, perfect the human rights legal mechanisms as well as to create peaceful environment for the promotion of human rights.
1) Policies and Measures for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights of the Korean People
Despite of the continued campaign by the US and its hostile forces to stifle the DPRK, the Government directs all the efforts to enforce policies for the protection and promotion of human rights and to bring them into practice.
An explanation will be given in the following paragraphs of the particular concerned policies to which the Government attaches more importance.
① Economic Development and Improvement of People’s Living Standards
The DPRK keeps up agriculture as a major thrust of our effort in the struggle for economic construction and improving the people’s standard of living, and concentrates all the efforts on farming.
With the aim to fundamentally increase the agricultural production, the Government directs efforts to carry out the seed revolution, make new innovations in the farming methods and develop science and technology of agriculture while expanding the farmland and transform the production system into the one which gives great yield production.
The Government directs efforts to improve animal husbandry and do greenhouse vegetable and mushroom farming on an extensive scale so as to ensure that larger quantities of meat, vegetables and mushroom are supplied to the people. It also plans to build large-scale 50,000 ha breeding farm on Sepho tableland in Kangwon province by 2015.
A vigorous campaign was launched for boosting production in metallurgical and chemical industries by relying on our own raw material and fuels and on the latest science and technology, holding high the slogan of making them Juche-oriented and modern.
The Government gives definite priority to electric-power and coal-mining industries while attaching importance to the development of light industry.
Several measures were taken to increase the power output and make light-industry factories to put production on a normal footing. Efforts are being made by all the cities and counties to produce various kinds of quality consumer goods in larger amounts by developing local industry in conformity with their specific conditions.
The State took measures to bolster up the fishing sector and protect and increase the country’s priceless natural resources including underground, forest and marine resources while conducting shallow-sea farming on an extensive scale. It conducted an energetic mass-based tree-planting drive to cover all the mountains with thick forests.
The Government tries to improve the guidance and management on economy, tightening the unified guidance of the economy by the State, enhancing the sense of responsibility and creativity of enterprises and encouraging all the working people to discharge their responsibility and role as masters of production and management.
The Government, while invariable practicing the complete and universal free medical care, endeavours to put in place material and technical foundations to enable all people throughout the country receive good quality health service on time whenever necessary.
In order to reach the world level in major health indicators like life expectancy, births attended by skilled health workers, infant mortality rate and communicable diseases, a new goal is set up and attempts are being made for their implementation.
State budgetary expenditure on public health was increased systematically to facilitate the use of hi-tech telemedicine service and build modern medical service facilities in great number.
The Government also takes measures for the modernization of pharmaceutical factories, normalization of drug production, scientification and industrialization of the production of traditional Koryo medicine.
It is the plan and intention of the Government to give people more benefits of the socialist healthcare system through the improvement of preventive and curative medical care.
Upholding the slogan of making all the people well versed in science and technology, the Government work on several projects.
Universal 12-year compulsory education system was introduced in secondary education and it is expected to take 2 – 3 years to be fully introduced in the whole country.
Branch schools were set up, trains, buses or boats provided for students in remote mountainous villages and islets, and school material and fixtures supplied to them that they could have equal schooling with urban children.
In sectors of high education, the Government strives to create the better educational environment and enhance its quality in all the universities.
TV channel for education is expected to help students improve their abilities through the televising of more educational achievements at different universities, results of national software contests and exhibitions, lectures of renowned professors and latest news in science and technology.
Tele-education system for the working people across the country was set up which makes it possible for scientists, technicians, officials and students to have, through the libraries and scientific and educational establishments in their localities, immediate access to the latest scientific and technical information helpful to solving problems arising in their practical activities.
Favourable conditions are created one by one to achieve the Government proposed goal of making all the people versed in science and technology.
It is the State’s policy of providing people with more sufficient and civilized life, laying firm basis for self-reliance national economy through the construction of world standard buildings and grounds for improved cultural life.
Construction of power stations in tiers on the Chongchon River, livestock farming bases in the Sepho area, the Kosan Fruit Farm and a waterway in South Hwanghae Province and other major projects come closer for the completion on schedule.
Brisk are the building of modern apartments and dormitories and constructions to improve the educational conditions and environment.
Modern cultural areas and grounds for emotional and cultural life including the world-class pleasure ground, sports park, national fork park, water park, skiing ground and firing range were built in recent years to provide people and youngsters with better environment for emotional and cultural life.
⑤ Protection on Special Group
The DPRK government regards the protection and promotion of the rights for Special Group including children, women, elders and people with disabilities as the important subject and make strenuous efforts for its implementation.
In order to help students develop intellectually, morally and physically, students’ halls, schoolchildren’s palace and Children’s Union Camps were renovated while the curriculums and educational environments were improved as required by the new era.
Soya milk factories were built in Pyongyang and farming villages to improve the health and nutrition of children and students and the Government took responsibilities for the supply of raw materials and the distribution of the milk.
Maintaining the policy of taking responsibility especially for the orphans, the State pays attention to the growth, health and education of the children in orphan’s primary and secondary schools and takes necessary measures for the construction of baby homes and orphanages and improvement of diets together with the provision of nutrition food, clothes and school supplies and etc.
November 16 was instituted as “Mother’s Day” in 2012 and soon after, the fourth National Meeting of Mothers was held in Pyongyang. It was the important occasion to give high credit to the contributions made by mothers for the social developments and happiness of family, and encourage the traits of respecting women and protecting their rights in the society.
The Government intends to take several measures to provide adequate working and living conditions to women with its full respect of women.
The Government helps the Korean Federation for the Care of the Aged strengthen its functions. At the same time, it pays more attention to the aged people with no caretakers in order to encourage the social traits of respecting the old people and providing them with material aid and moral support.
At the same time, a number of measures are taken to strengthen the activities of the Korean Federation for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities. Early detection of disabilities and early recovery among disabled children and program for the development of art and sports, and vocational education are also included.
It is the firm determination and strong will of the Government to ensure the people, who had to tighten their belts due to the smear campaign of the hostile forces against the DPRK and its socialist system, enjoy all the benefits of socialism.
On the basis of self-reliance economy, the Government will normalize the production on high-level and fully satisfy the material and cultural demands of the people.
2) Continued Efforts for Perfect Human Rights Legal Mechanisms
The Government will make constant efforts to perfect the human rights legal mechanisms to enhance the supremacy of Korean-style socialism – the people-centred socialism – based on the experiences and lessons gained from the establishment of human rights mechanism.
Human rights laws will be adopted and amended to raise the effectiveness of the enactment and reflect the demand of the international human rights laws, modelling the socialist human rights legal system.
The DPRK will continue to make efforts for the perfection of human rights legal mechanism.
Measures will be taken for the legal organizations to adopt and amend new laws, considering which one is to give priority, so that the laws can contribute to the promotion of human rights, raising their efficiency.
The Government will continue to perfect the human rights legal mechanism, fully reflecting the people’s demands and interests and lead people to actively participate in this work.
Officials in the human rights legal mechanisms will be encouraged to discuss the concerned matters with public and listen to their words carefully. Communication system will be used more effectively so that every people can give their views on the new or amending human rights laws.
The way of adopting the laws will be improved in order to enact laws that meet the requirements of state policy and the situation.
Understanding of International Human Rights Instruments and other books on human rights will be published, divided into several sectors, and distribute them on regular basis to help the people have a broad range of knowledge about the nature of human rights and demonstrate their rights in their life.
3) Safeguard of National Sovereignty & Creation of Peaceful Environment
The safeguard of national sovereignty is the precondition and indispensable necessity for the protection and promotion of human rights.
Once the state’s sovereignty has been infringed, human rights of its people can’t be protected. This has been proven right by the human rights situations in several countries where the US triggered wars under the pretext of establishing new order based on “human rights” and “democracy”.
State’s sovereignty can only be secured by arms.
The UNSC was born to ensure international peace and security. It is, however, turned into the place, derailing from the track of justice and principles of the universal international law, to cover up the US high-handedness and arbitrariness against the legitimate and righteous exercise of DPRK’s sovereign rights instead of preventing it. This is the world we live today.
Any neither big powers nor international organizations can, in these circumstances, secure one’s sovereign rights.
From the confrontation between the DPRK and the US, the DPRK concluded that only the powerful self-reliance capabilities can defend the destiny of the country and its people and ensure the people’s human rights.
The DPRK has already built its own powerful self-reliance capabilities, equipped with the nuclear arms.
The ceaseless build-up of its capabilities, pivotal to nuclear arms, is the firm guarantee on the safeguard of state’s sovereignty, right to live and national prosperity.
As long as the US nuclear threats and aggression towards the DPRK persist on, it’s obvious that the DPRK have no choice but to continue its build up of defence capabilities until the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the world in order to deter and repel the US intrusion and attack on the DPRK and the nation.
The DPRK will continue to strengthen its capabilities and make sincere efforts to secure the peaceful environment of the Korean Peninsula.
The DPRK will remain true to the main principles of independence, peace and friendship that underlie the foreign policy of the DPRK.
The DPRK didn’t take any hostile attitudes towards other countries with different ideology and political system and never stopped making efforts to prevent the outbreak of war and ensure lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula for 60-years long since the ceasefire agreement was signed.
The DPRK’s urgent and passionate call for national reunification and peace was amplified on the planet for years and just and fair proposals were followed by the practical measures for their implementation.
The US never hesitated to completely reject, without any reason, all the proposals made by the DPRK, concerning with ensuring the peaceful environment.
The past history witnesses the reiteration of dialogue for peace by the DPRK and the US pretentious rejection on the peaceful dialogue.
Currently the DPRK make endurable efforts to ease the tensions on the Korean Peninsula and secure peace, making constructive and peaceful proposals for negotiations regardless of any assertions.
The DPRK remains invariable in its stand to protect and promote the human rights through genuine dialogue and cooperation, opposing high-handedness and arbitrariness.
The DPRK Government never opposed the dialogue on human rights with any country.
What we have opposed was the human rights dialogue which was used by some states as a means to infringe the sovereignty of other countries and interfere in their internal affairs and disguise their crimes as “legitimate” act to topple governments.
The DPRK, in future also, will sincerely participate in the implementation of its obligation in the human rights fields and continue to develop friendly and cooperative relationship with the countries which respect our sovereignty and are friendly to us.
The DPRK attaches importance to the international cooperation in the field of human rights. However, it strongly opposes the use of “human rights” as means to infringe the sovereignty of other countries, interfere in the internal affairs and cover up the criminal acts of toppling other governments as the “legitimate one”.
This Report just showed the glimpse of the reality. How to accept the truth here depends on the views of people. What’s clear here is that truth always remains as it is and it won’t lose its nature even though it is sometimes denied or fabricated.
This Report is based on the objective truth. Due to limited space and lack of ability of the writers, some information in the Report might not have adequate bases.
The Association, in future also, will intensify its studies on human rights mechanisms in the DPRK and make great contributions and offer constructive ideas for the protection and promotion of human rights.
The Association will continue to release the outcome of its research on human rights in order to help people understand in detail and on a full scale the human rights situation of the DPRK.
Review of the DPRK Association for Human Rights Studies
There have been different forms of research activities on human rights since a long time ago in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Coming into 1990s, it witnessed the efforts of the officials in the legal world to systematize the research work that had been done in a dispersed way and on August 27, 1992 the “DPRK Association for Human Rights Studies” was formed as a non-governmental organization with the approval of the State.
The main mission of the Association is to conduct researches and take measures in order to meet the ever-increasing demands of people for human rights under the socialist system of the DPRK.
According to the mission, the Association conducts the following activities.
First of all, it finds in detail and comprehensive manner on how the promotion of people’s human rights have been ensured in all aspects of life and how much the people’s demand in human rights are reflected in the legislation and its executions. In overall, the Association makes recommendations to competent state’s organs.
It also makes analysis and research the promotion of human rights in international field through the exchange of information and delegations with not only state’s organs but also the international and national human rights organizations. It investigates and studies the implementation of the international human rights conventions which the DPRK joined.
The Association investigates the violations of the human rights of our people by foreign forces and tries to draw the attention of international society for taking measures for its solution.
It also makes reports and documents and holds various forms of public activities including symposium, lectures, and photo exhibitions.
Hundreds of legal experts and scholars, professionals and lawyers as well as legal executioners and human rights experts are included in this Association.
Anyone who wants to be a member of the Institute, he/she should recognize its mission and go through the deliberation which is to test the applicant’s knowledge on human rights.
The Conference is the highest organ of the Association and the Committee and the Executive Committee assumes the work between the Conferences.
The Association convenes Conferences more than once every 3 years and special conferences upon the request of the Committee and the Executive Committee.
The Conference is entitled to examine and decide the measures for the guarantee of the human rights of citizens to be presented to the competent State’s organs.
The Committee of the Association meets every six months.
The Committee is entitled to elect chairperson, vice chairpersons and the members of the Executive Committee. It also sums up the annual work of the Institute, discuss and decide the next year’s plan of work and the measures for the realization. The Committee is entitled to take steps to carry out the decisions adopted at and the tasks assigned by the Conference and examine and decide the applications for the membership of the Association.
The Executive Committee of the Association meets every quarter.
It is entitled;
1) To draft and present to the Committee the report on the annual work and the plan of next year’s work of the Association,
2) To discuss and take measures for the questions either assigned by or arising between sessions of the Committee,
3) To take over, examine and submit to the Committee the applications for membership.
September 13, Juche 103 (2014)
Pyongyang, DPR Korea