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White Paper

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White Paper on Human Rights in North Korea, 2012

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Author Kim, Soo-Am,Cho, Jung-HyunLim, Soon-Hee,Chon, Hyun-joon,Lee, Kyu-Chang,
Publish Date / Page 2012 / 563 p. :
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Forward /9
Executive Summary /14

I. Human Rights and the Characteristics of the North Korean System /49
1. Human Rights and the Characteristics of the North Korean Regime /50
2. North Korea’s Concept of Human Rights /59
3. The International Human Rights Regime and North Korean Human Rights /64

II. The Reality of Civil and Political Rights /71
1. The Right to Life /72
2. The Rights to Liberty and Personal Safety /109
3. The Right to Due Process of the Law /167
4. The Right to Equality /218
5. Civil Liberties /242
6. Freedom of Religion /299
7. The Right of Political Participation /325

III. The Reality of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights /333
1. The Right to Food /334
2. Social Security Rights /350
3. The Right to Health /356
4. The Right to Work /378
5. The Freedom to Choose One’s Job /384

IV. The Reality of Minority Human Rights /395
1. Women’s Rights /396
2. The Rights of the Child /430
3. Care for the Disabled /465

V. Human Rights in Major Issue Areas /485
1. South Koreans Abducted and Detained in North Korea /486
2. Korean War POWs /515
3. North Korean Defectors /521

Public Executions in North Korea Since the Currency Reform (Total: 52) /562
In December of 1994, the Center for North Korean Human Rights Studies was established by the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU) to collect and manage information on the human rights situation in North Korea in a professional and systematic manner. Two years later, in 1996, KINU published the first White Paper on Human Rights in North Korea, and a new edition of the White Paper was published annually ever since. The White Paper is a book about inter-Korean humanitarian matters including the human rights situation in North Korea and the rights of North Korean defectors, South Korean Prisoners of War (POWs) in North Korea, and South Korean abductees. The format of the White Paper and the method in which we address the North Korean human rights situation was a result of two major factors. Firstly, in 1991 North Korea became a member of the United Nations and the State party to the following four international conventions on human rights: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Thus, the White Paper follows a format based on the definition of human rights as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and four major international instruments on human rights. Secondly, North Korea has enacted and revised their domestic laws to protect human rights, and the White Paper seeks to assess whether North Korean authorities have abided by their own domestic laws when evaluating the human rights situations.
The international community continues to call on North Korea for more transparency on its human rights situations since direct access to a country should precede any report on its human rights situation. However, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights, international human rights organizations, and international NGOs are still barred from entering the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by North Korean authorities, making it impossible to conduct an independent monitoring of North Korea’s human right violations or gain direct access to inside information. Although these limitations make research on North Korea more challenging, alternate methods of research has made it possible for KINU to assess the reality of North Korean human rights and produce the White Paper.
Firstly, in-depth personal interviews with North Korean defectors who have settled in South Korea have been KINU’s primary source of information. For example, the 2012 edition of the White Paper on Human Rights in North Korea contains information from 230 in-depth interviews with North Korean defectors, gleaned from a pool of 1,983 pre-interviews.
The 230 interviewees who were chosen among the North Korean refugees who defected to the South in 2011 were chosen in consideration of their statistically meaningful characteristics and social background, including factors such as place of residence, route taken to South Korea, and those with experience of detention in camps. The interviews were around two hours long and based on a professional survey sheet focusing on human rights, which are the major contents of the White Paper. The demographic characteristics of the 230 interviewees are as follows.