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N. Korea slams S. Korea in human rights report

By Lee Jaeeun

Published : July 30, 2023 - 15:16

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (KCNA-Yonhap) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (KCNA-Yonhap)

North Korea retaliated to a human rights report released by South Korea’s Unification Ministry early this year with its own, criticizing human rights conditions in the South.

Pyongyang Publishing Co., an organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party, published a book that roughly translates to "Barren Land of Human Rights" and is full of disparaging remarks on human rights conditions in South Korea, on July 21.

“We will examine the human rights condition in South Korea, the world’s worst barren field of human rights that completely tramples even the political freedom and basic right to survival of humans,” it reads in its introduction.

Through some cases, North Korea argued that South Korea is a country full of suicide, unemployment difficulties, industrial accidents, discrimination against women and disabled people as well as child abuse.

Pyongyang published the report in response to the "2023 Report on North Korean Human Rights," released by the Ministry of Unification in late March.

The report analyzed the human rights situation in North Korea divided into four themes. North Korea likewise criticized human rights in South Korea by describing the situation in four themes in its book.

The ministry has been compiling an annual report on North Korea's human rights situation since 2018 under the North Korean Human Rights Act. The report had not been made public in the past. But in March, the ministry released the report publicly for the first time, in line with President Yoon Suk Yeol's hard-line policy toward the North.

The report is based on the testimonies of more than 500 North Korean defectors and highlights widespread rights abuses by state authorities, including murder, torture and public executions.

"2023 Report on North Korean Human Rights," published by the Ministry of Unification in late March (Unification Ministry)