The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) remains one of the most repressive countries in the world. A 2014 United Nations Commission of Inquiry report found that the government committed systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations that constitute crimes against humanity. Ruled by third-generation totalitarian leader Kim Jong Un, the government maintains fearful obedience by using arbitrary detention and imprisonment, torture, executions, enforced disappearances, and forced labor. It systematically denies basic liberties, including freedom of expression, association, assembly, and religion. It bans independent media, civil society organizations, and trade unions. Since 2020, under the pretext of protecting against the spread of Covid-19, the North Korean government has imposed extreme and unnecessary measures to close its borders and tightly restrict domestic travel, with strict controls on the distribution of food and other products within the country.


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map of North Korea