April 12, 2011 09:20
The U.S. State Department says the human rights situation in North Korea remains "grave" as people there "were denied freedom of speech, press, assembly, and association." The assessment comes in the State Department's Human Rights Report 2010 published Saturday.
The North Korean regime "attempted to control all information... the government executed political prisoners, opponents of the regime, repatriated defectors, and others accused of crimes with no judicial process," it says.
"Conditions in the political prison camps were harsh and... systematic and severe human rights abuses occurred throughout the prison and detention system," the report quoted NGOs as testifying, "There continued to be reports of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detention, arrests of political prisoners, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, and torture." Others said pregnant female prisoners "underwent forced abortions in some cases, and in other cases babies were killed upon birth in prisons."
The report also complains about the situation in South Korea. "The local media reported some violence against foreigners, including a man with a mental disability killing his foreign bride... North Korean refugees, although supported through government-funded resettlement programming, faced discrimination."
In September, Grand National Party lawmaker Kang Yong-seok "was expelled from his party for making remarks that could be interpreted as sexual harassment to a group of female university students."
The report also took issue with the "government's interpretation of laws regulating the Internet and telecommunications."
It cites the example of blogger Minerva, who posted pieces of economic information in cyberspace and was charged with violating the law to reveal information deemed detrimental under a very broad interpretation of the public interest.
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