Did you know that 95% of North Korean citizens do not have access to Wi-Fi? You are probably wondering why are these people “tortured” this way? Well, the regime doesn’t allow them access to the internet in order to preserve the negative information of the country within its’s borders and away from its’ people. North Koreans are being denied both civil and human rights as they have no freedom of speech or press. Today I am going to be informing you about this violated human right and I will be revealing the harsh punishments handed out to anyone who criticizes the regime or talks poorly about the country.
Freedom of speech is one of the most crucial Human Rights as it plays a vital role in the healthy development process of any society. We are positively impacted by this right since it helps us communicate with the government and each other and express our thoughts and feelings. Non- violent protests are also a way of communicating to the government wishing to make a change about an issue that could be concerning us. By protesting our voices can be heard and may be considered by the government. Likewise, if we are able to communicate our ideas, views, opinions, worries and needs effectively that means we are included in meaningful participation in society and we have the opportunity to better our own circumstances. Lastly by having the right to freedom of speech we get informed about information that could be threatening our privacy. An example would be when US citizens found out that their own government was spying on them through the internet. A protest and an official letter sent to the government and signed by Apple CEO Tim Crooks and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was what informed the citizens about this insane incident. You might be thinking “shouldn’t there be limitations to freedom of speech?”. Well NO there shouldn’t be any limitations. All we have to do is understand that debate and criticism is a way of expression and we should tolerate and respect each other’s opinions. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” Therefore being able to express ourselves without any limitations will not only make us better but it will also improve the society we live in.
North Korea is known as one of the most censored countries and because of that thousands of North Koreans are punished by being sent to hideous prison camps. As I mentioned earlier, the North Korean government censors ALL media and does not tolerate freedom of speech. Article 19 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, mentions that “Everyone has the right to say what they think and to give and receive information” and despite that the regime not only doesn’t allow the citizens this basic right but it also punishes them for it. Criticism of the regime or the leadership, if reported, is enough to make you and your family ‘disappear’ from society and end up in a political prison camp. There are 5 prison camps in North Korea that hold an estimate of 100,000 people. Some of them are the size of cities, and they have existed five times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. According to locals once you have been accused of a crime (political, economical, criminal) and sent to prison camps your entire family is considered guilty and the subsequent two generations born in the prison camp must remain there for life! In December 2011
after the death of Kim Jong-Il, all citizens were required to mourn. Those who failed to display sadness were punished with large fines and some were sent to prison camps. This inhuman action violates article 4 which states that “No one shall be held in slavery…”. So do you really think that people and their subsequent 2 generations should be sent to prison camps, be starved to death, and be tortured for such small mistakes or such little disobedience towards the government?
If not selected to join the prison camps then the other way the government can punish you is by public executions. Imagine being tightly handcuffed onto a wooden pole, your knees resting on the rough ground and 150,000 people around you watching you and suddenly you hear it. You hear your family crying, screaming and then 5 gunshots being fired directly at your chest. Then all you hear is silence. Silence and deep breathing… This brutal punishment was stopped in most countries including the US, France and the UK, about 73 years ago. Despite that North Korea stills continues to use this barbaric punishment to display the regime’s power and terrify its’ citizens. In January 2010, a North Korean factory worker was publicly executed after he called someone in South Korea to discuss North Korean rice prices. Last year Kim Jong Un publicly executed a few “criminals” in schoolyards and fish markets in a twisted attempt to create an “atmosphere of fear”. These events violate article 5 which states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. So what do you think? Should public executions be allowed in North Korea and should young kids be forced to watch these scaring incidents?