Opinion: Human rights under attack in North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea, is one of the most repressive states in the world.

Its current dictator, Kim Jong-Un, has intensified the repressive nature of this state over the past half-decade, resulting in many human rights violations. Some violations known throughout the international community include extermination, murder, restriction of religious freedom, forced starvation, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortion and other sexual violence.

In addition, the government of North Korea also has created class wars via the social system known as “Songbun.” This system pits children against children and families against families, resulting in unnecessary hostility and violence.

These atrocities cannot be allowed to continue any longer.

The Human Rights Council (HRC) stated in 2014 that “the gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.”

The country has become so repressive that Kim Jong-Un has increased border security in order to prevent North Koreans from escaping the country in search of a better life.

Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental organization that monitors international human rights violations, stated in their 2016 report that North Korea “violates economic and social rights by criminalizing and arbitrarily punishing market activities.” Thus, the citizens of this tyrannical regime starve to death on a regular basis.

“(T)he government also practices collective punishment for alleged anti-state offenses, effectively enslaving hundreds of thousands of citizens,” according to Human Rights Watch.

Even though these violations are terrible, there is hope. In December 2015, both “the HRC and the UN General Assembly have both suggested that the Security Council consider referring the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC),” per Human Rights Watch.

But there needs to be more action. Something people can do now is to get actively involved. Specifically, we can all help by petitioning our government to put more pressure on the North Korean government to remedy these atrocities.

This is something the International Community needs to take more seriously, and the only way for us to influence the international community is to influence our own country to take action.

The United States is a key player on the world stage, and thus, there is hope for U.S. citizens to aid the grave situation in North Korea.

Ultimately, the power of the United States rests with each of its citizens. To see a change, we need to tell our government this is an issue that matters to us.

Then can we ever hope to see human rights conditions improve in North Korea.

Charlie Ronan and Kevin Zezlina are guest columnists they can be contacted at [email protected] and [email protected]