Information about North Korea is difficult to obtain. We have tried to rely on reliable sources and, at the same time, have a neutral and objective approach. In general, from the information available, it is possible to conclude that the protection of North Korean children is not ensured, and that their rights are regularly violated.
Almost a quarter of the country’s population does not have access to adequate food. Food shortages mostly affect children, and negatively impact their health. The situation is critical, since the government rations how much is distributed to the population. Food resources are often not enough and yet they are the main source of livelihood for families. About 40% of North Korea’s population lives below the poverty line. Due to the natural disasters that hit the country, poverty is very serious and is getting worse and worse. Many children are homeless and face harsh living conditions.
The infant mortality rate in North Korea is 33%.
Often, the resources for health care infrastructure and personnel are neither sufficient nor adequate. Medicines are in short supply, including those used to combat various adverse effects of malnutrition. For example, many children in North Korea are victims of tuberculosis. According to the government, medical care is free. However, the reality is quite different. In fact, health care expenses can be too high for some families who do not have enough resources to treat their children. However, it is clear that the country is undertaking significant health efforts. Not long ago, North Korea carried out a measles vaccination campaign that has helped immunize millions of children to an epidemic.
North Korea is well known for corruption and a lack of freedom of speech and opinion. The media are under strict control; opponents or defenders of human rights are often imprisoned, and the government is notorious for its strict policy of censorship. Sentences awarded for political or option crimes are frequent and carry severe penalties. Children must be protected, both inside and outside the family environment. In North Korea, the protection of minors, which should be guaranteed by the national authorities, has been replaced by: violence, forced labor and the lack of respect for their rights.