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Fundamental Freedoms

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea maintains near complete control over all aspects of people’s lives, denying freedom of opinion, expression, association, thought, conscience and religion.  State surveillance permeates all areas of life to suppress any criticism of the State, creating a climate of fear and mistrust within the community.  Citizens have no access to information from independent sources, including from outside the country. The State dictates where people must live and work, with permission required to leave the assigned province. International travel is effectively denied. Those who attempt to cross borders, the majority of whom are women, are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, including by trafficking networks, and risk being forcibly returned and subjected to imprisonment and torture. Meaningful participation of people in public affairs, including in the selection of the political leadership, does not exist.