U.S. News

FACTBOX: North Korea's suspected human rights abuses

SEOUL (Reuters) - A U.S. human rights activist trying to raise global attention about the suffering of the North Korean people has apparently crossed into the reclusive state, South Korean media and other activists said on Saturday.

The following is a list of suspected human rights abuses carried out by North Korea, according to a U.S. State Department report released earlier this year.

* Citizens denied freedom of speech and association.

* Arbitrary and unlawful killings to instill fear.

* Kidnapping and imprisonment without legal explanation.

* Severe torture and abuse, including forced abortions and sexual abuse in the case of female prisoners.

* Up to 200,000 political prisoners in correctional facilities for political offences that include damaging pictures of state founder Kim Il-sung and current leader Kim Jong-il.

* Random security checks of private homes and communities.

* Correspondence and telephone conversations monitored by the government.

* Families sent to prison for one member’s wrongdoing.

* Government control over all artistic and academic products.

* Freedom of religion limited to the national belief that Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il are supreme authorities.

* Restricted movement within North Korea and prohibition of emigration, for which the punishment can lead to death.

* No set rules for refugee protection.

* No public access to government information.

* Prevalent discrimination of gender and social status.

* Government officials receiving bribes to expedite human trafficking, which in many cases involve North Korean women forced into prostitution.

* Forced labor, including that of minors.

* Additional human rights abuses, including withholding wages and citizens’ exposure to hazardous conditions while working abroad for North Korean firms.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jerry Norton