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Britain Designates N. Korea 'Human Rights Priority Country' for 6th Year


The British government has designated North Korea as a "human rights priority country" for the sixth consecutive year.

The U.K. Foreign Office on Thursday issued its Human Rights and Democracy Report 2020, and placed North Korea among 31 human rights priority countries.

The human rights report cited the North Korean regime's total control over most aspects of the lives of its people as well as the lack of progress in the serious human rights abuses in the country.

The report noted that the North's strict travel restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic had a serious impact on the distribution of relief supplies in the country. The Foreign Office had to vacate its embassy in Pyongyang in 2020, due to draconian lockdown measures enforced by the regime to prevent an outbreak.

It added that there are widespread and systematic human rights violations in the country, but those responsible remain unpunished. North Korea has been a fixture on the U.K.'s report on human rights violators since it began compiling the list in 2016.

Britain said it will continue to raise North Korea's human rights issues through multiple channels and urged the regime to cooperate fully with relevant UN human rights investigators, and allow them immediate and unhindered access to the country. 

The U.K. currently maintains diplomatic relations with North Korea, with an embassy in Pyongyang that opened in 2001, before it was abandoned last year. The report said Britain intends to reopen its embassy when conditions allow, and seek greater engagement between the international community and North Korean authorities on human rights.

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