North Koreans face lives devoid of hope, UN rights chief says

Voice of America News reports: “The U.N. high commissioner for human rights delivered a bleak assessment of the situation in North Korea on Wednesday, a decade after an in-depth report shed light on severe and widespread abuses in the country.

‘Today, the DPRK is a country sealed off from the world,’ Volker Türk told a special briefing of the U.N. Security Council that North Korea’s ambassador did not attend. ‘A stifling, claustrophobic environment, where life is a daily struggle devoid of hope.’

DPRK is the abbreviation for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Türk expressed concern about the regime’s tight control over the movements of its citizens, including the ability to leave the country. Most North Koreans cannot obtain the required government permission to leave, and those who attempt to escape face torture, labor camps or death if they fail.

‘Leaving your own country is not a crime – on the contrary, it is a human right, recognized by international law,’ he said by video from his office in Geneva.

He said repression of the freedom of expression has also worsened with the enforcement of laws forbidding people from consuming foreign media or culture, such as South Korean television dramas or K-pop music.

‘Put simply, people in the DPRK are at risk of death for merely watching or sharing a foreign television series,’ the human rights chief said…”

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