MATTHEW MILLER, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON
As we observe the 20th annual North Korea Freedom Week, we recognize the courage of the North Korean defector and human rights community, which continues to speak on behalf of the millions of North Koreans suffering abuses who are unable to advocate for themselves. The DPRK continues to exploit its own citizens, including through mass mobilizations of school children and forced labor, and divert resources that could benefit them to build up its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.
We remain deeply concerned about the plight of North Korean asylum seekers, including some 2,000 North Koreans detained in China who are at risk of repatriation to the DPRK. North Koreans forcibly repatriated are reportedly commonly subjected to torture, arbitrary detention, forced abortion, other forms of gender-based violence, and summary execution.
The international community must act to promote accountability for those responsible for the DPRK’s human rights violations and abuses. Addressing the DPRK’s egregious human rights situation remains a priority for the United States, and we continue to work with the international community to highlight abuses and violations, promote accountability and increase access to independent information into, out of, and within the DPRK.