- Remind North Korea of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and their human rights clauses in their constitution
In light of the events that are causing unrest in North Korea and unease for the rest of the world, the situation calls for the invocation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the human rights clauses in the North Korean constitution, which should be used by North Korea as a guide in handling and approaching the present situation. Reports about North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, still remain to be unconfirmed but we are concerned about the country’s decision to cease news media releases and television streaming and thus, the North Korean people’s safety and well being. Therefore, we must exercise constant vigilance to ensure that North Korea does not overstep its boundaries when it comes to the treatment of their people. For this reason, we remind North Korea of these points from the UDHR and their own constitution:
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Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article 21. (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections, which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Article 28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
Source: Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Aside from the UDHR clauses, North Korea also amended its constitution in 2009 with the intentions of making clear that the government respects and protects the human rights of its citizens. In addition, North Korea also removed communism from its constitution (The Hankyoreh 2009)
The UDHR and North Korea’s Constitution should be the basis, standards, and guidelines on how the country should proceed with its present constitution and we are here to make sure that the country complies.
- Agreement for the release of some political prisoners
Since we are on the topic of UDHR and need to ensure that North Korea follows it and its amended constitution, we must point out the need for the release of its political prisoners.
Article 14. (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
Source: Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The release of political prisoners should be demanded from North Korea and the country must deliver (Oh & Hassig 2002: 32). The issue has been pressed repeatedly but North Korea failed to deliver, but we should be consistent in insisting this matter. If reports are true about Kim Jong Un and the possibility of a new leader for North Korea, the government should easily comply with the demand.
- Reopen state media and allow foreign journalists access into the country to report
If the reports about Kim Jon Un’s death are true, then North Korea is in a state of political instability, and consequently, national chaos. North Korea’s decision of cutting down news media and television stream is a sign of concern, especially for the people. If we are not aware of goings-on in North Korea, then we can only assume the worst, especially if it feels the need to block the media from reporting and confirming facts that the world should be aware of. Cooperation and collaboration must be asked or demanded from North Korea especially with regards to factual and straightforward release about current events in the country (House of Commons 2009: 87; Hassig & Oh 2009: 136). North Korea media should coordinate with international news stations, especially with the United Nations. In this way, we would be able to know the situation of people in the country so governments and organizations like the UN would know how to proceed. At this time, we are strongly concerned about the wellbeing of the people who are caught in a political storm.
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