North Korea’s human rights situation is still ‘extremely poor’, according to the U.S. State Department, which today released its ‘Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011’.
In the reporting period, it said North Korea “subjected citizens to rigid controls over many aspects of their lives, including denial of the freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, religion and movement and worker rights.” “Defectors continued to report extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detention, arrests of political prisoners, and torture. The judiciary was not independent and did not provide fair trials.”
Moreover, it said North Korea is, ‘an authoritarian stated led by the Kim family for more than 60 years’ and added that there continue to “be reports on severe punishment of some repatriated refugees and their family members. There were reports of trafficked women among refugees and workers crossing the border into China.”
The U.S. Department of State also criticized North Korea for arresting and detaining individuals who help North Korean defectors, and for demanding their repatriation.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at the release of the report, said, “21st century human rights are not only a question of civil and political liberties, it’s about the fundamental question of whether people everywhere have the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”
Meanwhile, UK-based Amnesty international, in its annual report released yesterday, said, “The political prison camp at Yodok, home to around 50,000 men, women and children, is one of six known political prison camps in North Korea, in which a total estimated 200,000 political prisoners and their families are imprisoned without trial or following grossly unfair trials.”
Freedom of expression, it said, is non-existent.