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Human rights in North Korea is under a “reign of terror”, academic says

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The National Human Rights Commission of Korea hears evidence of North Korea’s “reign of terror” since the mid-1990s at its first forum on North Korea’s human rights situation since the inauguration of the new administration on April 16.

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea on April 16 held its first forum on North Korea’s human rights situation since the inauguration of the new administration. In January, the NHRCK chose the North Korean human rights issue as one of six key projects it plans to carry out this year and decided that it would launch a major investigation, which will include an examination of the human rights situation faced by North Korean residents since 2000.

At the forum, Professor Hong Min of Dongguk University presented a paper on the North’s human rights situation, in which he said that North Korea has maintained the social order through a “reign of terror” by severely restricting the human rights of its residents since the mid-1990s, when the nation experienced its worst period of economic difficulty.

There were, however, concerns about the reliability of the information provided by North Korean defectors and the potential for the issue to be manipulated by political interests. Jeong Seong-jang, a researcher at the Sejong Institute, said, “It is true that North Korean defectors are important sources of information through which we can grasp the reality of North Korea’s human rights violations, but it is highly possible that they could give information about things that they did not directly experience.”

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