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NK submits first human rights report to UN in 16 years

Posted February. 12, 2001 21:11,   


The United Nation`s recently disclosed the full text of North Korea`s first human rights report to the international body in 16 years.

The report, submitted in July last year to the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, the body that governs international conventions on civic and political rights, will be examined at a meeting in Geneva on July 9 to 27.

In the 39-page report, the North broke with the custom of outlining concrete measures for the implementation of the human rights convention and instead enumerated stipulations contained in its constitution and related domestic laws. The UN High Commissioner of Human Rights is thus likely to come into conflict with the North in the course of deliberating on the report.

In the document, North Korea pointed out that through constitutional amendments made in February 1987 and March 1995, basic laws were revised or supplemented such that the number of articles allowing capital punishment was decreased from 33 to five.

The report said that under the Article 29 of the constitution, any kind of forced or compulsory labor was banned, the people were guaranteed freedom of travel and residence and had full rights to leave or return to their home country at any time.

Noting that the North had difficulty ensuring the people` s right to live over the past several years, however, the report contended that due to severe natural disasters and external factors, the country suffered shortages of food and medicines which resulted severe malnutrition among children. The report presented detailed figures supporting its statements.

According to the human rights paper, the infant mortality rate in North Korea reached 23.5 percent in 1998 and the rate of malnutrition stood at 15.6 percent.

The report also said that the average North Korean life span was 38 years in 1944 but had grown to 74.5 years in 1994. It also said the infant death rate was 20.4 percent in 1944 but had decreased to 14.1 percent by 1993.