NORTH KOREA: Human Rights Capital of the World?

RYAN LIPPERT WRITES – Certainly a country with the title “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” is all about freedom and equality…right?

Earlier this year, the United Nations published a report on the state of human rights in North Korea. It found that the country has one of the worst human rights records in the international community. Since the report was published, the North has gone to great lengths to cast doubt on the U.N.’s findings.

North Korea released a report from their Association for Human Rights Studies, claiming that their citizens’ human rights are not violated, but respected and protected. The report also claims that Western countries, including America, violate the rights of their citizens.

Initially, the report attempts to explain what human rights are. It then lists the rights supposedly guaranteed to North Koreans by their constitution. These include but are not limited to religious liberty, freedom of movement, a free press, equality, freedom from involuntary servitude, the right to due process, and protections against torture.

The report does not say anything about the claims that the North Korean government allegedly spies on its own people or punishes dissenters. They do, however, address the claims that their government sends dissidents to concentration camps. They argue that the claims in the U.N. report are based on false statements made by former North Korean citizens who reportedly snuck away to South Korea to escape punishment.

The report does not say anything about Matthew Miller, an American currently serving a six-year sentence for allegedly tearing his visa apart when he arrived in Pyongyang.

While it is uncertain whether or not the report’s findings are based on reality, one should always keep in mind that they were made available through the state-run media, which may mean that the information in the report is what North Korea wants their citizens and the rest of the world to know.  Smells like rotten kimchi to me.

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