White Paper on Human Rights in North Korea 2007
The “Korea Institute for National Unification” (tong-il yunguso, Aka KINU) sends out regular emails to its members and couple of weeks ago it sent out the 2007 – White Paper on Human Rights in North Korea (it’s in Korean but I suspect that since they have an English version for the previous years, they will soon upload the English version on their website, here is the link to where you can see the previous years White Papers on Human Rights in North Korea - KINU ENGLISH)
I’ve read through a couple of chapters – the whole paper is about 350 pages long – and found things that were quite concerning to anyone who come across such information. We have perhaps read about it but I guess such reality never really sinks in, like this direct quote from the white paper, “In order to keep the control of social order, North Korea regularly holds public executions, even after the huge outcry from the global community, they only reduced the frequencies…” and evidently in 2004 the law was amended so that forced labor was legalized. One of the interesting things was since the post in 2000, there have been increasing numbers of people who have prosecuted for spreading/transferring South Korea’s video/other media-related (foreign information) materials. One has to wonder how North Koreans get a hold of South Korean videos; however it is interesting that after all North Koreans too seem to be interested in the “outside” world.
The report obviously covers a lot more, from human rights issues regarding minorities, women and children who have been subjected to more violence and sexually related crimes. In addition the number of women defectors has not only increased but those who actually defect by themselves have increased.
In conclusion, I think the overall quality of the white papers by KINU is actually quite high, although how much of the provided information that is true is anyone’s guess but they have been producing the papers since 2000. The changes throughout the past 7 years are actually much more interesting so by just reading one, it is hard to tell if the situation is getting better or worse in the DPRK.