Public executions in North Korea appear to have become less common, but it is unclear if the drop is due to an increase in the number of executions carried out in secret, a state-run South Korean think tank said in a report Friday.
According to the White Paper on Human Rights in North Korea 2019 released by the state-run Korea Institute for National Unification, the reclusive regime continues to carry out public executions for "crimes disrupting the socialist order" such as watching or distributing South Korean videos.
"Yet the frequency of public executions is on decline compared to the past, and the number of cases where citizens are mobilized to such public execution sites is also decreasing," the report said.
"It is yet unclear whether the decline is due to an actual drop in the number of public executions or because the number of undisclosed executions of the death penalty or secret summary executions is increasing," it added.
The report was based on interviews with 135 North Korean defectors who moved into the South in 2017 and 2018, as well as North Korean official documents and reports Pyongyang submitted to the UN.
Based on the survey, the report concluded that North Koreans' right to life continues to be at risk.
North Korea has long been labeled one of the world's worst human rights violators. The communist regime does not tolerate dissent, holds hundreds of thousands of people in political prison camps and tightly controls the flow of outside information. (Yonhap)