The cruel reality of North Korea is that it’s very public displays of defiance only serve to help blind the world to the unthinkable human rights violations that it inflicts upon it’s own people. North Korea has a long history of the mistreatment of it’s people, and it’s government never hesitates to use cruel and brutal tactics to enforce it’s rule.

Even though North Korea’s government claims to follow basic international standards for the treatment of it’s citizens, the truth is that it routinely and openly violates their rights. In North Korea political opposition is not allowed, freedom of religion is not allowed, and the media is controlled by the state. Any attempts at circumventing the government’s absolute grip on power will usually result in the offending individual being locked away in a labor camp or being executed.

Making matters even worse is that people accused of crimes in North Korea are denied the basic legal rights that are almost universally excepted, which means that they are usually imprisoned or punished without the benefit of due process or a trial.

Using Brutal Tactics To Maintain A Hold On Power

The government of North Korea uses a wide range of brutal and cruel tactics and laws in order to maintain it’s grip on power. By using fear and intimidation the government is able to keep the people under control. Anyone who dares to violate their laws or question of the authority of the government is swiftly and publicly punished.

Torture, forced labor camps, and executions are all common forms of punishment that keeps the population in line. In terms of torture it’s common for prisoners to be subjected to sleep deprivation, to be beaten, and for female prisoners to be raped by guards. While their laws only allow execution for a small number of crimes, these laws are interpreted very liberally and people are often executed for minor offenses. With such horrible punishments known to be the normal result of not following the letter of the law, the vast majority of North Korean citizens are forced to quietly live under the harsh rule of their unjust government.

While most of North Korea’s people would rejoice if they were able to overthrow their cruel government, the truth is that voicing this is far too dangerous. Because of their lack of power the people of North Korea are forced to simply endure hoping that one day things will change.

Food Shortages And Starvation

Another key factor to consider when looking at the cruel reality of North Korea is that food shortages are all too common. Due to poor planning, and several droughts, North Korea continues to suffer from serious food shortages. Despite the fact that it’s people desperately need food the North Korean government continues to prioritize strengthening it’s military over finding ways to feed it’s people.

Instead of accepting the laws of the world, which would allow them to receive more economic aid and food, the North Korean government continues to defiantly do whatever it wants to. It continues to fire missiles into the sea, and develop a nuclear weapons program at the cost of the lives of it’s people. The fact that the North Korean government has even resorted to threatening a nuclear attack against the United States serves as a great illustration of both it’s disregard for the welfare of it’s people, as well as their delusional feelings of importance.

Eliminating Political Opposition

A sad view of the cruel reality of North Korea comes into view when you realize that the government is a true dictatorship with no political opposition allowed. The harshest punishments are often reserved for people who are deemed political enemies of the state. Not only are offenders sent to brutal forced labor camps, in many cases their entire families are sent as well. In these camps prisoners are forced to work in mines, as loggers, or in the agricultural industry. Because of the cruelty of the guards, and a lack of safety equipment, death rates are extremely high in these camps. For people who are sentenced to forced labor camps the reality is that they have likely been sentenced to a long, slow, and painful death.

Citizens Are Not Permitted To Escape

For many years the North Korean government has issued shoot on site orders to it’s border guards regarding anyone attempting to flee the repressive country. Even a guard who doesn’t want to shoot unarmed civilians would be too afraid not to carry out his duty, failing to do so would surely mean being sent to a forced labor camp. The only people who are allowed to legally leave the country are those who are granted permission by the government. Unsurprisingly very few people are ever granted this permission, with the majority of them being government officials who are doing work for the state. Despite the risks many North Koreans attempt to flee the country on a regular basis. For these brave people it’s better to risk death than to live the rest of their lives under the cruel thumb of a government that doesn’t care about them.

For those of us lucky enough to live in a modern and free society it can be next to impossible to understand the cruel reality of North Korea. We take our freedoms for granted and go about our lives enjoying rights that people in a country like North Korea couldn’t even imagine. How would you feel if practicing your religion could end up you being executed by your government? What if questioning your leaders would result in you being sent to a labor camp, and your family being sent as well?

These types of cruel injustices are simply a normal part of life for those unfortunate enough to live in North Korea. North Korea continues to act in defiance and openly threaten the world since they know that the likelihood of actual conflict is slim.

Sadly this means that the government will likely continue to abuse it’s people and ignore their rights for the foreseeable future.


Robert Gombos

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