Questions Raised on the Treatment of Disabled People in North Korea

Following evidence received at an All Party-Parliamentary Group on North Korea meeting in December 2014, both Lord Alton and Fiona Bruce MP raised questions on the DPRK government’s treatment of its disabled citizens and the effectiveness of the UK’s disability programmes implemented by the British Embassy in Pyongyang.

Hearing from Ji Seong Ho, who lost his left-hand and foot during North Korea’s famine of the 1990s and escaped in 2006, Ji noted that it was common knowledge in North Hamgyeong Province that citizens with dwarfism were removed from society and subjected to segregation and forced sterilisation by the DPRK authorities.

Hugo Swire MP, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated that the UK’s engagement with the DPRK on disability issues “aims to build the capacity of the DPRK to promote and protect disability rights and provide small-scale practical support to those with disabilities. There are many human rights issues that we have raised through this and our wider work, although this is not one of them.”