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Groups Urge Biden to Incorporate Human Rights into Security Negotiations

(Washington, DC) – The United States government should emphasize the promotion of human rights in its policies on North Korea, 11 human rights groups said today in a letter to President Joe Biden. The groups, including Human Rights…
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Kim Jong Un Uses Pandemic to Further Isolate Population

(New York, January 13, 2021) – North Korea’s government used unnecessary and opaque Covid-19 restrictions in 2020 to reinforce its standing as one of the world’s most repressive countries, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2021. Under…
Kim Song Ju Primary school students have their temperatures checked before entering the school in Pyongyang, North Korea. 
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Coalition Urges President Moon to Take Stronger Stance on Abuses

(Seoul) – South Korea’s government should strengthen its efforts to promote human rights in North Korea, a coalition of rights-oriented groups said today in an open letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The …
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Law Would Block South Koreans from Sending Materials North

(New York) – The South Korean National Assembly should reject a proposed law that would criminalize sending leaflets, information, money, and other items to North Korea, Human Rights Watch said today. If enacted, the law would violate South Koreans’…
People watch a news program showing an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. 
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11 Asia-Pacific Governments Oppose 120 States on Capital Punishment Moratorium

(Bangkok) – Eleven countries from the Asia-Pacific region were among the small minority that voted against a United Nations resolution opposing the death penalty, Human Rights Watch said today. On November 17, 120 UN member states voted in favor of a…
A view of the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters, October 1, 2018.
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Torture, Lack of Due Process, Arbitrary Punishment, Corruption Rampant

(Seoul) – The North Korean pretrial detention and investigation system is arbitrary and lacks any semblance of due process, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Former detainees described systematic torture, dangerous and unhygienic…
An overhead illustration of people in a crowded jail cell
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Political Crackdown with Targeted Reviews, Inspections Prompts Fears

(New York) – The South Korean government is targeting activist organizations that focus on North Korea’s human rights problems for special review in an apparent effort to intimidate them, Human Rights Watch said today. Tensions between the South…
Activist Park Sang-hak holds a leaflet depicting the death of Kim Jong Nam, half-brother to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, during a press conference in Seoul on July 6, 2020. © 2020 Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images
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Coalition Urges President Moon to Toughen Position on Human Rights

(Seoul) – The South Korean government should re-engage on promoting accountability for human rights abuses in North Korea, said a coalition of rights-oriented groups said today. The International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity…
South Korean President Moon Jae In delivers a speech in Seoul on March 1, 2020, in a ceremony to mark the 101st anniversary of the founding of a Korean independence movement against Japanese colonial rule.
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Abe Should Lead Efforts to Hold Pyongyang Accountable

(Tokyo) – The Japanese government should reverse course and resume its practice of promoting accountability for human rights abuses in North Korea, Human Rights Watch and almost 300 other nongovernmental organizations and concerned individuals said…
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe enters into the prime minister's office in Tokyo on January 20, 2020. House of Councilors Plenary session starts on the same day.
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Totalitarianism Empowered with Absence of International Pressure

(Seoul) – North Korea’s government, one of the most repressive in the world, maintained its totalitarian rule during 2019 with ongoing brutality and intimidation, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020. …
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sits in his vehicle after arriving at a railway station in Dong Dang, Vietnam, February 26, 2019.
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Don’t Disengage from Human Rights in North Korea

(Seoul) – The South Korean government should stop disengaging from ongoing human rights abuses by North Korea, a coalition of human rights and other groups said on December 16, 2019 in a joint open letter to South Korean president Moon…
South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks during a joint press statement briefing at the First Mekong-Republic of Korea Summit in Busan, South Korea, Wednesday, November 27, 2019.
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Rapid Return Disregards International Prohibition Against Torture

  (Seoul) – The South Korean government deported two North Korean fishermen on November 7, 2019 to face murder charges in North Korea, where they face likely torture, Human Rights Watch said today. On November 2, the South Korean navy…
South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Lee Sang-min briefs the media at a government complex in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. South Korea says it has deported 2 North Koreans after finding they had killed 16 fellow fishermen on
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Human Rights Council Seat Demands Greater Leadership

(Sydney) – The Australian government should make the protection of human rights a central focus of its foreign policy, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the recently reappointed Foreign Minister Marise Payne that was released today. …
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Forced Return Exposes Them to Risk of Torture, Other Abuses

(New York) – China should not forcibly deport seven detained North Koreans who face a grave risk of torture and other abuses if returned to North Korea, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should grant asylum to the members of the group…
Pedestrians walk by a statue of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong outside the railway station in the Chinese city of Dandong bordering North Korea in northeastern China's Liaoning Province, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.
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World Must Speak Out for Rights and Sexual Violence Victims

(Seoul) – The summits between the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the United States and South Korean presidents, and increased international re-engagement, have failed to address human rights concerns about North Korea, Human Rights…
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island, in Singapore on June 12, 2018. © 2018 AP Photo /Evan Vucci
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Impunity for Assault and Rape by Men in Power

North Korean officials commit sexual violence with little concern for the consequences, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government fails to investigate and prosecute complaints, or to provide protection and…
Woman being questioned by a secret police investigator. Former detainees say that secret police investigators can easily harass female detainees during questioning.
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Historical ‘Paradise on Earth’ Campaign a Rights Disaster

(Tokyo) – Japan should publicly urge the North Korean government to immediately allow ethnic Koreans lured to North Korea from Japan and their relatives to return to Japan, Human Rights Watch said today. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should…
Five plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against North Korea for the “Paradise on Earth” campaign hold a banner, accompanied by their supporters, in Tokyo, August 19, 2018.
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African Governments Should Ensure Right to Education

  (Nairobi) - Tens of thousands of pregnant girls and adolescent mothers are banned or discouraged from attending school across Africa, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today, ahead of the Day of the African Child…
Students enrolled in the final year of lower secondary school in the classroom in a village in Kolda region, southern Senegal. Adolescent mothers and married girls study in this school.
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Letter from More Than 300 Groups Around the World Seeks Real, Long-Term Change

(New York) – The North Korean government should immediately undertake meaningful reforms that will end the dire human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Human Rights Watch and more than 300…
朝鲜领导人金正恩出席朝鲜劳动党第七届中央委员会第三次全体会议,朝鲜中央通讯社发布照片,朝鲜平壤,2018年4月20日。
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No Improvements in Basic Freedoms Despite Diplomatic Opening

(New York) – North Korea remains one of the world’s most repressive states despite recent diplomatic openings with South Korea, the United States, and other countries, Human Rights Watch said today in a mid-year update to its annual…
Kim Jong Un visits the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science in Pyongyang, August 23, 2017.