The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) remains one of the most repressive countries in the world. Ruled by the authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un, the government has responded to international challenges and the Covid-19 pandemic with deepened isolation and repression and has maintained tight control over the population through threats of execution, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, and forced hard labor in detention and prison camps. Since 2020, under the pretext of protecting against the spread of Covid-19, the North Korean government has imposed extreme and unnecessary measures to close its borders and tightly restrict domestic travel, with strict controls on the distribution of food and other products within the country.

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map of North Korea