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Execution And Rights Abuse In North Korea


People watch as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle Jang Song Thaek is escorted by military officers during a trial.

The recent execution of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un’s uncle and close advisor Jang Song Thaek is another example of the extreme brutality of the North Korean regime.

The recent execution of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un’s uncle and close advisor Jang Song Thaek is another example of the extreme brutality of the North Korean regime.


The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) and member of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK Marzuki Darusman cited reports that multiple executions in the country, prior to Jang’s execution, had been similarly carried out with total disregard for due process and other international human rights standards. Darusman, along with other UN independent experts, called on the government of North Korea to impose a moratorium on all executions.

The UN General Assembly also condemned the deplorable human rights situation in the DPRK, adopting by consensus on December 18 an annual resolution on North Korea expressing “very serious concern at the persistence of continuing reports of systematic, widespread and grave violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights."

The UN Commission of Inquiry on DPRK human rights will release the final report outlining its investigations into the systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in the DPRK and its recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2014.

In its most recent human rights report, the U.S. State Department said the DPRK government “subjected citizens to rigid controls over many aspects of their lives, including denial of the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, religion, movement and worker rights.”

The State Department noted that estimates of the number of prisoners in North Korea’s vast penal system ranged between 80,000 and 200,000 people. Reports of torture, starvation, and disease are widespread.

U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf underscored in a recent press briefing that the United States remains deeply concerned about the welfare of the North Korean people and will continue to work “with other countries in the region and international organizations like UNCHR and the Human Rights Council to raise attention to the deplorable conditions in the DPRK.”
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