Human Rights in North Korea

Regional distrust hampering response to cope with a breakdown in North Korea

South Koreans in Seoul burn an effigy of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a day after Pyongyang's third nuclear test. Photo: AP

The underground explosion at the Punggye-ri test site - 100 kilometres from the Chinese border - was North Korea's largest yet. With Pyongyang reportedly threatening more tests soon, uncertainty is once again mounting over the direction and stability of the young regime of Kim Jong-un as he leads communism's only dynasty.

Saturday, 23 February, 2013, 3:00am

It's grim up north

It's where the law of the jungle rules, and where a father robs a son's food for his survival,' said North Korean defector Kim Gwang-soo as he testified last week about life inside the communist state's torture chambers and its most feared labour camp, Yodok.

12 May 2007 - 12:00am

Lao bounty sought for N Koreans

An organisation dedicated to helping North Korean refugees says police in Laos are demanding US$1,000 to hand over three children who were attempting to flee North Korea.

A spokesman for the Tokyo-based Life Funds for North Korean Refugees said it was refusing to pay, saying it feared setting off a 'bounty hunt' for North Korean refugees.

13 Apr 2007 - 12:00am

Trail of woe

Activists call it the 'underground railroad', harking back to the secret trails followed by African-American slaves fleeing to the free north in the 19th century. For North Koreans seeking a new life outside their impoverished homeland, it can be a road to freedom or a short-cut to arrest and deportation back into the hands of an unforgiving regime.

9 Sep 2006 - 12:00am

Seoul mulls throwing lifeline to defectors fleeing the North

A South Korean parliamentary committee next week will consider offering greater support to North Koreans wishing to defect, a move that could throw a lifeline to an estimated 300,000 refugees hiding in third countries after fleeing the repressive regime.

19 Feb 2005 - 12:00am

US push on human rights divides parties

There has been a mixed reaction in South Korea to the US Senate's approval of a bill designed to pressure North Korea into improving its record on human rights.

The leader of South Korea's ruling Uri Party warned that the North Korea Human Rights Act 2004 could backfire and severely damage inter-Korean relations.

1 Oct 2004 - 12:00am

Seoul agrees to take in 400 refugees from North

Welcome for biggest group of asylum seekers yet shows South's softer stance

Up to 400 North Korean refugees are due to arrive in the South next week from temporary asylum in an unnamed Southeast Asian country, the largest single group of defectors to be accepted since the peninsula was divided more than 40 years ago.

24 Jul 2004 - 12:00am