Convention on the Rights of the Child


CRC/C/65/Add.245 November 2003

Original: ENGLISH



Second periodic reports of States parties due in 1997



[16 May 2003]

* For the initial report submitted by the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, see CRC/C/3/Add.41; for its consideration by the Committee, see documents CRC/C/SR.458-460 and CRC/C/15/Add.88.

GE.03-44870 (E) 080104


Paragraphs Page

Introduction ………………………………………………………1 - 45


A.The Convention and domestic legislation 6 - 145

B.Comprehensive strategy for the implementationof the Convention 157

C.Coordination mechanism for the implementationof the Convention 16 - 237

D.Resource mobilization 24 - 319

E.International cooperation 32 - 3511

F.Dissemination of the Convention 36 - 4612

G.Availability of the report 47 - 5013

II.DEFINITION OF THE CHILD (art. 1) 51 - 6214


A.Non-discrimination (art. 2) 63 - 7117

B.Best interests of the child (art. 3) 72 - 7819

C.Right to life, survival and development of thechild (art. 6) 79 - 8020

D.Respect for the views of the child (art. 12) 81 - 8621


A.Name and nationality (art. 7) 87 - 9123

B.Preservation of identity (art. 8) 9224

C.Freedom of expression (art. 13) 93 - 9424

D.Freedom of thought, conscience and religion (art. 14) 95 - 9624

E.Freedom of association and of peaceful assembly(art. 15) 97 - 9824

CONTENTS ( continued )

Paragraphs Page

F.Protection of privacy (art. 16) 99 - 10024

G.Access to appropriate information (art. 17) 101 - 10325

H.Right not to be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment(art. 37, para. (a)) 104 - 10825


A.Parental guidance (art. 5) 109 - 11226

B.Parental responsibilities (art. 18, paras. 1 and 2) 113 - 11527

C.Separation from parents (art. 9) 116 - 12027

D.Family reunification (art. 10) 121 - 12429

E.Illicit transfer and non-return (art. 11) 12529

F.Recovery of maintenance for the child(art. 27, para. 4) 126 - 12829

G.Children deprived of a family environment (art. 20) 129 - 13230

H.Adoption (art. 21) 133 - 13431

I.Periodic review of placement (art. 25) 135 - 13831

J.Abuse and neglect (art. 19), including physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration(art. 39) 139 - 14532


A.Disabled children (art. 23) 146 - 15433

B.Health and health services (art. 24) 155 - 17035

C.Social security and childcare services and facilities(arts. 26 and 18, para. 3) 171 - 17438

D.Standard of living (art. 27, paras. 1-3) 175 - 17739

CONTENTS ( continued )

Paragraphs Page


A.Education, including vocational training andguidance (art. 28) 178 - 19339

B.Aims of education (art. 29) 194 - 19944

C.Leisure, recreation and cultural activities (art. 31) 200 - 20345


A.Children in emergency situations (arts. 22, 38 and 39) 204 - 20646

B.Children involved with the system of administrationof juvenile justice (arts. 37, 39 and 40) 207 - 21546

C.Children in situations of exploitation (arts. 32-36) 216 - 22248

D.Children belonging to a minority or an indigenousgroup (art. 30) 22348


1.The Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has the honour to submit its second periodic report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in compliance with article 44, paragraph 1 (b), of the Convention. The present report covers the period from 1995 to 2000 following the year 1994 when the initial report on the implementation of the Convention (CRC/C/3/Add.41) was drafted.

2.This period was marked by unprecedented difficulties and hardships both for the State and its people. The successive natural disasters lasting for several years from 1995 have severely hampered the economy as a whole and seriously damaged people’s livelihood. Under the leadership of Kim Jong-il, all people engaged in an energetic struggle to overcome the natural disasters, their motto being: “Let us optimistically advance however tough our road might be!” As a result of the hard efforts, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea progressively surmounted the hardships, restored the balance between various sectors of the economy, restored the basis of an independent national economy and laid a reliable springboard for the construction of a powerful nation.

3.In September 1998, amidst the elevated atmosphere of stabilization, recovery and progress, the Tenth Supreme People’s Assembly, the highest organ of State power, held its fifth session. The session amended and supplemented the Socialist Constitution in line with the developing realities and reorganized the governing bodies of the State. This was an epoch‑making event that led to a new phase in the development of the State.

4.All officials of the State, especially those concerned with children, base all their activities on the motto: “Let us live today not for today but for tomorrow!” What this means is that one should live a true life devotedly overcoming the present difficulties for the prosperity of the nation and a happy life of the new generation even if he or she may not enjoy comfort today. The Government and the officials concerned with children keep in mind their noble mission of cultivating a bright future and are firmly determined to devote more sincere efforts to the work of guaranteeing the rights of the child, surmounting all the difficulties encountered.


5.The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea acceded to the Convention on 21 September 1990 without any reservations. The period under review covered by the present report has proved once again that the principles and requirements of the Convention are basically in line with the principled stand of the Republic which attaches primary importance to children and underlines the bringing up of children into independent social beings, necessary for the realization of the ideals and aspirations of mankind.

A. The Convention and domestic legislation

6.The Government conducted an overall review of its domestic legislation to ensure compliance with the Convention. The review showed that the principles and requirements of the Convention had been embodied in various laws and regulations either to the letter or in substance. The Socialist Constitution, revised and supplemented at the first session of the Tenth Supreme People’s Assembly in September 1998, maintained the provisions concerning the rights of the child (see paragraph 16 (a) of the initial report). The Law on the Care and Upbringing of Children, the Public Health Law, the Socialist Labour Law, the Criminal Law and the Criminal Procedures Act also preserved the provisions on the rights of the child (see para. 16 (b) and (c) of the initial report).

7.On 14 July 1999, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea adopted the Education Law, the core of which is the universal compulsory free education system. The Education Law (comprising 52 articles) consists of six chapters, namely, chapter 1 (Basis of the Education Law), chapter 2 (Universal compulsory free education system), chapter 3 (Educational institutions and personnel), chapter 4 (Content and method of education), chapter 5 (Fulfilment of the conditions for education) and chapter 6 (Guidance and control of educational work). The Law provides in chapter 2 that a citizen has the duty and right to receive secondary general education (art. 12); that the term of compulsory secondary general education shall be 11 years (art. 13); that the organs of local government, educational institutions, parents and guardians are obliged to send school-age children to school without fail (art. 14); that the organs of local government shall take measures to ensure compulsory secondary education for children in remote areas (e.g. mountain villages or isolated islands) and for the blind, deaf and dumb and other handicapped children (art. 15); that all education shall be free and that fees may not be charged for admission, lessons, practice, visits or research (art. 16); that specific full-time students shall be provided with scholarships (art. 17); and that schoolchildren shall be provided with food, school materials and daily necessities (art. 18).

8.The principles and requirements of the Convention were fully taken into consideration while adopting, amending or supplementing the Nationality Law (amended and supplemented in March 1995), the Law on External Civil Relations (adopted in September 1995), the Law on Physical Culture (adopted in March 1997), the Law on Registration of Citizens (adopted inNovember 1997), the Law on Medical Care (adopted in December 1997), the Law on Complaint and Petition (adopted in June 1998), the Law on Public Sanitation (adopted in July 1998), the Law on Sanitation of Foodstuffs (adopted in July 1998) and their subsidiary regulations and rules.

9.The Constitution and the laws of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea recognize the rights set out in the Convention (see paras. 16 and 17 of the initial report). The laws and regulations that were adopted, amended or supplemented in the period under review recognized and embodied the rights contained in the Convention (see para. 8 above).

10.The international covenants and conventions ratified by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have the same status as the domestic laws. Thus, it is natural that they may be invoked before the courts. The governmental, people’s security, procuratorial, educational and public health organs at all levels may also directly apply the provisions of the Convention.

11.The provisions of the Convention have all been integrated into the legislation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea either to the letter or in substance. If some requirements are not reflected in domestic legislation, the principle is to settle an arising issue in conformity with the Convention. However, if the Conventionis in conflict with national legislation, the provision which is more favourable to the child is applied, following the principle of the best interests of the child.

12.In a country that takes special care of the child and has the social conditions to support it, the level of child rights protection may not stay within the scope of the Convention. The Law on the Care and Upbringing of Children, the Education Law, the Regulation on Kindergartens (adopted in November 1991), the Regulation on Elementary and Senior Middle Schools (adopted in April 1991), the Regulation on Schools for the Children of Step-parents (adopted in January 1992), the Regulation on Schools for Blind or Deaf and Dumb Children (adopted in January 1992), the Regulation on Orphanages (adopted in February 1992), the Regulation on Free Supply of Textbooks and School Materials (adopted in December 1991), the Regulation on Supplying Schoolchildren with Scholarships, Food Expenses, Clothing, Textbooks and School Materials (adopted in March 1992) all have put on a firm footing the compulsory free education system which has existed for decades and can be said to have provided for the rights of the child at a higher level.

13.The cases of judicial decisions applying the principles and provisions of the Convention may be found in civil court hearings. Especially in dealing with adoption, annulment of adoption and divorce, the interests of the child is a primary consideration in conformity with the requirement of the Convention.

14.Children may claim remedies either directly or through parents or guardians in cases of violation of the rights recognized by the Convention. Remedies concerning the right to benefit from social security, including social insurance, can be claimed on the basis of the Insurance Law and the Law on Compensation for Damages and their Subsidiary Regulations.

B. Comprehensive strategy for the implementation of the Convention

15.The Government has basically achieved the targets of the National Plan of Action up to 2000 mapped out under the Declaration on Survival, Protection and Development of the Child, adopted at the World Summit for Children in 1990. In the new millennium, the Government will direct more resources to education, public health, nutritional support and other sectors that are vital for the realization of the rights of the child, and will coordinate the implementation of the Convention more actively and systematically so that all children may enjoy their rights to a satisfactory level.

C. Coordination mechanism for the implementation of the Convention

16.The Government recently established a national coordination body for the implementation of the Convention during the reporting period. Prior to the reorganization of the State organs in 1998 at the first session of the Tenth Supreme People’s Assembly, the national coordination and supervision function was assumed by the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the permanent body of the highest organ of State government, and the Central People’s Committee, the highest leadership body of State government. The former took necessary legislative measures while the latter coordinated the activities of the Administration Council and its subordinate organs for the implementationof the Convention and supervised the inspection and control activities of procuratorial and people’s security organs. At the first session of the Tenth Supreme People’s Assembly, the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly and the Central People’s Committee were merged to make the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, in accordance with the revised Constitution. This gave rise to the issue of how to achieve national coordination of the implementation of the Convention. The debate was focused on establishing a new, exclusive national coordinating body in view of the internal requirement to take an institutional measure for the development and specialization of the unified coordination and supervision of the child‑related organs, keeping in step with the reorganization of the central State organs and the recommendations contained in the concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the initial report. On 28 April 1999, the National Coordination Committee for the Implementation of CRC (NCRC) was set up with the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly as the axis. It includes officials from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Central Public Procurator’s Office, the Central Court, the Ministry of People’s Security and the Central Statistics Bureau, among others. NCRC conducted various activities such as dissemination of the Convention, the drafting of the periodic report, and coordination and supervision of the implementation of the Convention. The establishment of NCRC permitted the national coordination of the implementation of the Convention on the basis of evolving realities.

17.NCRC took an active part in the drafting and consideration of bills. One example is that it proposed a plan to embody the requirements of the Convention when government organs, such as the Ministry of Education and the Cabinet, weredrafting the Education Law and its enforcement regulation, and worked actively to make its opinion heard when the bill was under consideration by the Bills Committee and the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly. NCRC has established a regular system of supervising and reporting on progress made in the implementation of the Convention by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Health and other government bodies concerned with children.

18.The government policies on the rights of the child operate through the State administration system, from the centre to the province, city (district), county or ri, and the status of execution is synthetically reviewed and reassigned in the framework of the administration system. The decisions, recommendations or requests of NCRC, once they are presented to the central organ concerned, go down to all local units of the country through the administration system, to be carried out or referred to. If need be, NCRC goes out to a local unit in person. For example, if a natural disaster occurs in an area, NCRC instantly goes to the area to cooperate with the local government organ in taking measures for the protection of children.

19.Besides NCRC, the machinery specializing in the implementation of the Convention, there are other government organs concerned with the child such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Commerce, among others. There are also the Department of Kindergarten Guidance and the Department of General Education Guidance in the Ministry of Education, the Department of Vocational Education Guidance in the Ministry of Labour, the Department of Nursery Guidance and the Department of Guiding Maternity Hospitals and Children’s Wards in the Ministry of Public Health, the Department of Guiding Supply Work for Nurseries and Kindergartens and the Department of Supplying School Uniforms and School Materials in the Ministry of Commerce. The provincial people’s committee has the departments of education, public health and commerce administration, and the county people’s committee has the divisions of education, public health and commerce. Government bodies supervising the implementation of CRC include the supervisory departments of the ministries concerned, the State Ministry of Inspection, as well as the procuratorial and the people’s security organs. The government organs work in close contact with NGOs to establish policies on children. Other institutions, including the Child Public Health Organization Research Centre, the Child Nutritional Care Research Centre, the Educational Method Research Centre, the Institute for Human Rights Research and the Democratic Lawyers’ Association are active in making recommendations and formulating requests to protect the rights of the child, which are considered seriously in elaborating policies and activities of governmental organizations. During the reporting period, the Child Nutritional Care Research Centre and the Educational Method Research Centre played an important role in enhancing the nutritional care of children in the areas affected by natural disasters and in taking educational steps to develop the personal characteristics of the children who are especially gifted and talented.

20.The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has a network of grievance machinery that includes all government organs from the centre to local areas. The machinery is set up in all service establishments and judicial, procuratorial and people’s security organs as well, without exception. The machinery deals broadly with general human rights issues and the protection of child rights. This machinery has much in common with the office of an ombudsperson or a commissioner in its function. No one is permitted to interfere in the work of the grievance machinery, and the Law on Complaint and Petition guarantees that complaints or petitions will be conclusively dealt with. During the reporting period a complaint about the sunlight in a nursery, a complaint about the supply of milk and bread to schoolchildren and dozens of other similar complaints or petitions were dealt with.

21. The statistical data on children and their rights are gathered at the Central Statistics Bureau and the statistical departments of the government organs of the province (or municipality directly under central authority), city (or district) and county each month, quarter and year, to be reported to the responsible office of the Cabinet and NCRC. NCRC goes into details of the indicators necessary for the assessment at the national or local level of the realities or trends of child rights protection. Once the statistics are collected and validated, the results of research and the data serve as the basis for mapping out the child policies of the Government. The statistical data of the local statistics bureaux and the research results of the organs concerned have been effectivelyused when taking educational steps to enhance the nutritional care of the children affected by flood damage and to develop the personal characteristics of the children with extraordinary gifts and talents.

22.The Government collects and assesses every three months the achievements of units or districts in the implementation of the Convention and disseminates them widely throughout the country so that they may be referred to in the activities to implement the Convention. These achievements are presented to the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly for evaluation.

23.In the collection and assessment of the achievements in the implementation of the Convention, the opinions of NGOs such as the teachers’organization, branches of the medical association, the youth league or the women’s union of the unit or district were taken fully into consideration during the reporting period.

D. Resource mobilization

24.The successive destructive natural disasters over several years following the flood damage in July/August and the hailstorm in October 1994 severely damaged the education and public health facilities that were directly concerned with the child. The total value of damage to education and public health in 1995-1996 was no less than US$ 700 million. Hospitals, clinics, nurseries, kindergartens and schools were washed away and medical care and education facilities were lost, with the result that millions of children were severely affected with regard to education and medical services. To cope with this situation, the Government paid primary attention to the realization of the economic, social and cultural rights of the child and made no alteration at all in its fundamental stand vis-à-vis children (see paras. 1-4 of the initial report) even if everything was insufficient and the situation was hard.

25.The Government adopted the economic and social policy of taking special care of the welfare and rights of the children who were vulnerable in terms of material support in the period of successive natural disasters. For rice production, above all, the Government saw that the cultivated land was extended, double-cropping introduced and high-yielding varieties of potato planted in suitable land. All of the community mobilized to help farmers in busy seasons. On the other hand, the Government urged the government organs at all levels and the public organizations to protect and stabilize the life of the children in the damaged areas.

26.The Government allocated a large sum of money for the public health, welfare, education and other sectors concerned with children in the current reporting period.

27.In the reporting period, the budget for children declined at first owing to natural disasters, but gradually picked up from the end of 1998.

Table 1

Yearly budgetary expenditures on children (in millions of won)


Total national budgetaryexpenditure

Expenditure on education (kindergartens, primary schools, senior middle schools)


29 476

2 018


24 224

1 822


20 624

1 402


20 174

1 439


20 015

1 436


20 018

1 436

Note: The expenditure on children was 62-63 per cent of the expenditure on education each year.

28.To assess the budgetary expenditure on children, the method of determining the proportion of the budget for education, public health, etc. and the proportion for the child in the total State budget was used.

29.Even in times of natural disasters, the Government did all it could to secure a stable life for children in conformity with the principle of the best interests of the child. The local government organs at all levels allotted much of their budget to supplying suffering children with such primary necessities of life as food, medicines and provisional homes, restoring child facilities and ensuring uninterrupted education and medical services.

30.In the reporting period, the State care for the child went preferentially to the districts of natural disaster and were focused on the suffering children. This was an effective way of narrowing the gap between districts and child groups around the country.

31.Thanks to the measures taken, equal conditions have been arranged on a nationwide scale for the existence and development of the child and the situation of children is getting gradually better. The nutritional state of children has been improved to the point that it is nearly twice as good as in 1996, the year of the worst situation, and new ways are being encouraged to provide those children who have lost their parents with a family environment. The child immunization system is being restored gradually and the aim of developing the gifts and talents of children has been further promoted in the field of education.

E. International cooperation

32.The Government, while taking effective measures to mobilize every possible resource at home, appealed for international assistance in 1995 for the first time in its history in view of the vastness of the damaged areas and the huge amount of loss. Since 1995, a lot of valuable assistance came each year from such governmental or non-governmental organizations as the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Caritas Internationalis and from Governments. About 60 per cent of the assistance received was directed to the sectors of education, health and welfare of the child. The humanitarian cooperation by Governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations at the time of temporary difficulties caused by natural disasters was a great help and encouragement to the Government and people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in their efforts to protect children. The Government and people appreciate such cooperation.

33.During the reporting period, the average annual international aid amounted to US$ 200 million, which were allocated to health, education, social and other sectors in due proportion.

34.Legislative and administrative measures were taken for the implementation of the Declaration and Action Programme of the World Summit for Social Development. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea amended and supplemented the Constitution, and recently adopted and supplemented 50-odd laws, including the Civil Law, the FamilyLaw, the Law on National Economic Planning, the Labour Law, the Public Health Law, the Law on Joint Venture and the Law on the Rason Economic and Trade Zone to create a more favourable environment for social development.

35.The State, while reorganizing its organs, took practical measures to eliminate the consequences of the natural calamities. In particular, the State paid attention to rice production, revitalization of the economy and recovery of people’s livelihoods by reclaiming new land and conducting on a large scale the land levelling and rezoning project, as the crop area was restricted and much of it had been lost to the flood.

F. Dissemination of the Convention

36.The Government took measures to disseminate the Convention during the reporting period, too.

37.CRCwas translated and 5,000 copies of it were published by the Foreign Languages Books Publishing House in 1991. In 1995 and 1998, the Social Sciences Publishing House produced the Compilation of International Instruments on the Rights of the Child and the Convention, 26,000 copies of which were translated into Korean.

38.As there was no linguistic minority of refugees or immigrants in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, no other language translations were needed.

39.To publicize the Convention and create widespread awareness of its principles and provisions, five sessions of NCRC, eight governmental consultative meetings, five lectures and five-odd sectoral or local seminars and workshops were held during the reporting period. Radio and television broadcasts about the Convention were carried more than 20 times on the occasion of International Children’s Day and the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention,and 25 articles about the Convention were carried by publications, including various newspapers.

40.For wide dissemination of the Convention among children, 10 hours were devoted to special lectures on the Convention in the curricula of elementary and senior middle schools, and the principles and requirements of the Convention were explained to parents of schoolchildren at their meetings held more than twice a year. During the reporting period, 20,000 copies of the Convention were distributed to educational institutions and 5,000 copies to the wider public.

41.Five short courses were organized to provide information on the Conventionto education, health and law enforcement personnel and others working with and for children, and teacher training colleges have had obligatory courses onthe Convention.

42.The principles and provisions of the Convention are an essential subject in the education of teachers at elementary level, kindergartens and nurseries, obstetricians and paediatricians and are embodied in the relevant work norms.

43.The mass media, information centres and publishing houses undertake various activities to disseminate the principles and provisions of the Convention. They broadcast, for example, the explanations or interviews of experts concerning articles 4, 2,3,6 and 12 of the Convention.

44.Non-governmental organizations take an active part in awareness-raising and advocacy campaigns on the Convention. The youth league and the women’s union include the work to make the Convention widely known in their programmes for children’s extracurricular activities. The number of such NGOs nationwide is in excess of 20.

45.Children also take an active part in the work to disseminate the Convention. Schoolchildren publicize the principles and requirements of the Convention in various ways and means suitable to their age and maturity, including through their extracurricular club activities or literary and artistic activities.

46.NCRC has been striving to make the Convention widely known to the public, as was recommended by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in its concluding observations on the initial report. But, owing to the natural calamities, paper, which is essential for the publication work, is in short supply despite efforts to mobilize every possible domestic resource.

G. Availability of the report

47.To prepare the present periodic report, the Government set up the Report Drafting Group consisting of officials of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the Cabinet, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Central Court, the Central Statistics Bureau and other concerned organs, as well as officials of public organizations, including the youth league and the women’s union, and of academic research centres dealing with children. The Group comprehensively surveyed the situation of the implementation of the Convention in all sectors of the country with the assistance of the government organs at all levels, public organizations, parents, youth, students and children and drafted the report on the basis of the results of that survey. Twenty-odd non-governmental organizations, including the Institute for Human Rights Research, the Democratic Lawyers’ Association and the Medical Association and various research institutes were involved in the preparation process.

48.The drafting of the report was based on the general guidelines regarding the form and contents of the periodic reports (CRC/C/58) issued by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. As required by the general guidelines, the major legal provisions, statistics, indicators and research results have been included and analysed in the report. The basic information contained in the initial report has not been repeated, but referred to.

49.The Government took measures to make the present periodic report widely used by the institutions and organizations concerned, in accordance with article 44, paragraph 6, of the Convention. The report was considered at a conference of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the Cabinet and central administration organs and made available to public organizations and local administrative organs. The report was prepared in Korean and translated into English. A total of 2,000 copies will be printed in Korean after it is submitted to the relevant Committee and it will be distributed to all governmental and supervisory organs, educational and public health institutions, the youth league, the women’s union and other public organizations at the central and local levels. Various non-governmental organizations actively participated in the publication and dissemination of the report.

50.After the consideration of the initial report in May 1998 the Government reported the news to the whole nation through the mass media. The summary records and the concluding observations on the report adopted by the Committee were translated into Korean and 2,000 copies were published and distributed to State organs and public organizations, from the centre to the lowest local units.


51.(For the difference between national legislation and the Convention on the definition of the child, see paragraphs 38 and 39 of the initial report.) The main purpose of the definition of the child in the Convention might be to set limits on the age of children who are to be specially protected by the State and society among the different strata of population and to fully ensure their rights set forth in the Convention. This is fundamentally in line with the aim of defining the child in the national laws of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea duly provides in the laws the definition of the child, considering whether such legal definition is favourable or not for the protection of the child’s political, economic, cultural and other rights, in order to guarantee every possible right of the child.

52.The minimum legal age for legal and medical counselling, medical treatment or surgery without parental consent. In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the legal or medical counselling or medical treatment of a child without parental consent depends on the mental maturity and the independent ability of a child to express his or her wishes. The minimum legal age, therefore, has not been fixed.

53.The minimum legal age for the end of compulsory education and admission to employment or work. The Education Law does not stipulate the age of completing compulsory education, but provides that compulsory secondary general education shall last 11 years. Compulsory education begins at the higher class of kindergarten, when children are at the age of 5-6, which means that compulsory secondary general education is over for most children when they turn 17 years of age. A few children whose education is delayed for illness or other reasons finish their compulsory education when they are 17 or 18 years old. After compulsory secondary general education, children either continue their studies at a higher level or are admitted to vocational technical education for one to two years before they are employed as workers. The Constitution provides in article 31 that the minimum working age is 16 years, given the fact that a large part of the vocational technical education is practical labour to acquire skills, and so it may be considered as part of the working life. In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the minimum working age coincides with the age of finishing compulsory education. In other words, employment is possible when compulsory education is over. The legal provision of a working age does not, therefore, affect the realization of children’s right to education.

54.The minimum legal age for marriage or sexual consent. Article 9 of the Family Law provides that the minimum age of marriage is 18 years for males and 17 years for females. This is no more than the legal definition of the minimum standard age for marriage, whereas in fact people usually marry in the latter half of their twenties. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has not provided separately a minimum legal age for sexual consent, but regards it as coinciding with the minimum legal age for marriage. The slight difference between males and females in the marriage age stipulated by the Family Law does not reflect sexual discrimination, but a traditional practice in which females marry men who are older than they are. Under article 153, paragraph 1, of the Criminal Law, a man who has sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 15 is committed to a reform institution for up to five years. This does not mean that the minimum legal age of sexual consent for females is 15; the provision concerns criminal sexual behaviour. Having sexual relations with a minor is considered extremely immoral and is strongly condemned by society.

55.The minimum legal age for voluntary enlistment in and conscription into the armed forces; participation in hostilities. In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a citizen finishes his or her compulsory secondary general education at the end of his/her sixteenth year and is entitled to volunteer to join the army when he or she becomes 17 years old. Those who are healthy, able-bodied, sane and have no family problems are selected from among the volunteers and are educated in full-time military or technical educational institutes for one to two years before being posted to units as servicemen on active duty. Enlistment is on a voluntary basis and there is no system of forced conscription.

56.The minimum legal age for criminal responsibility, deprivation of liberty, capital punishment and life imprisonment. NCRC reviewed the criminal responsibility system for the child, taking fully into account the concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the initial report of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Article 11 of the Criminal Law provides that punishment shall be imposed only on offenders who are over 14 years of age when they commit an offence, and for offenders between the ages of 14 and 16 public education measures may be adopted. In March 1995, the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly added to the provisions of article 11 that even if an offender is over 17 years of age public education measures may be adopted at the stage of prosecution or court hearing when those measures are regarded as acceptable in view of the offender’s repentance. This additional provision means that the legal obligation to implement the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child to extend the special protection for children to everyone between 17 and 18 years of age has already been met. The investigation and preliminary examination of young offenders are conducted in conformity with the principled requirement of imposing public education measures on minor offenders. In other words, children are not arrested or detained except in cases of extremely serious offences and a brief investigation is conducted by summoning them to the organ concerned. In March 1995, when the Criminal Law was revised, the minimum legal age for capital punishment in article 23 was changed from 17 to 18. This was one of the results of the sincere efforts to meet the requirements of the Convention. Article 24 of the Criminal Law sets the maximum period of reform through labour at 15 years, which means that there is no basis for imposing life imprisonment.

57.The minimum legal age for giving testimony in court, lodging complaints and seeking redress before a court and participating in administrative and judicial proceedings. Minors are entitled to give testimony in court, in civil and criminal cases. Article 42, paragraph 1, of the Civil Proceedings Act provides: “The witness shall be the person who knows important facts related to the case.” Article 140, paragraph 1, of the Criminal Proceedings Act provides: “All persons who have heard about, have seen, or have an impression of a crime may be witnesses.” These provisions mean that anyone, including a minor, may be a witness and may give testimony in court, in civil and criminal cases, if he or she is capable of independently understanding and expressing a fact he or she has seen or heard about. Article 108 of the Civil Proceedings Act states: “If a minor is called to the box, the court shall allow the parents, guardian [and] teacher … patron to attend.” Article 147 of the Criminal Proceedings Act states: “The questioning of a witness under the age of 14 should be attended by a teacher, parent, guardian or other protector.” These provisions are intended to prevent the testimony of a minor from being twisted by pressure or other illegal means and to ease the possible psychological tension of a minor. Article 32, paragraph 3, of the Civil Proceedings Act states: “The minor and invalid shall perform the act of litigating through parents or a guardian.” This means that a minor’s act of civil litigation is conducted only by parents or a guardian. But in lodging complaints and seeking redress before a court or other relevant authority a minor does not necessarily need to be represented by parents or a guardian. This is guaranteed by the Law on Complaints and Petitions. By virtue of the above-mentioned legislation, a minor may participate in all civil and criminal proceedings as a witness or an interested party.

58.The minimum legal age for giving consent to change of identity. The identity of a citizen may not generally be changed without a reasonable ground under the Law on Registration of Citizens. If the change is absolutely necessary the citizen registration or population administrative organ looks into the reasons carefully. When the name, family relation, adoption, guardianship or identity of a child is to be changed, the opinion of the child concerned should be sought and confirmed. If a child is incapable of clearly expressing his or her independent views, the opinion of the parents, teacher or other person who can legally represent the interests of the child is adopted. A child living in his or her family environment grows up to know his/her blood relationship by the parents or relatives. But for the child who has become an orphan at an early age or who does not know his or her kinship for other reasons, the population administrative organ concerned examines the kinship and notifies the child when he or she is grown up.

59.Legal capacity to inherit and to conduct property transactions. Article 44 of the Family Law provides: “When a citizen dies, his or her property shall be inherited by his or her partner, children or parents.” This provision gives children the right to inherit, regardless of their age. Article 20, paragraphs 2 and 3, of the Civil Law stipulates that when a citizen reaches 17 years of age he or she may act under the Civil Law independently; that at 16 years of age he or she may act under the Civil Law independently but within the bounds of his or her ability to pay; and that when an act under the Civil Law goes beyond his or her ability to pay, he or she may conduct such act with the consent of his or her parents or guardian. However, a minor of over 6 years of age may conduct such acts as buying school materials or sundry daily necessities. This serves as a legal guarantee of a minor’s capacity to conduct property transactions.

60.The minimum legal age for creating or joining associations. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has not defined by law the minimum legal age for creating or joining associations. By the constitutional principle of freedom of association, children have no legal restrictions on creating and joining associations. The youth league and children’s corps, public organizations with broad participation by children, define the membership age in their rules. According to those rules, the age of membership in the children’s corps is generally 8-9 years of age and that of the youth league, over 13 years of age.

61.The minimum legal age for choosing a religion or attending religious school teaching. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has not defined by law the age for choosing a religion or attending religious school teaching. Religious parents may let their children choose a religion and believe in it. Children who have finished their secondary general education under the universal compulsory free education system may follow a religion course at a higher education establishment if they so wish.

62.The minimum legal age for consumption of alcohol and other controlled substances. Schools, families and society strictly control the consumption of alcohol and tobacco among children. Parents generally permit their children to take a mild alcoholic drink when they are 16‑18 years old, but guard against their being overcome by alcohol. Although education is being strengthened in various aspects, it is reported that some schoolboys tend to smoke for fun when they graduate from senior middle school.


A. Non-discrimination (art. 2)

63.The initial report reviewed how the requirement of article 2 of the Convention had been met historically in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (see para. 40 (a)-(e) of the initial report).

64.Article 65 of the Constitution provides: “Citizens shall enjoy equal rights in all spheres of State and public activity.” Based on this, the Education Law, enacted on 14 July 1999, provides in article 12 that: “every citizen shall have the obligation to receive secondary general education and the right to receive education free of charge”. When the education bill was being drafted, there was a serious debate on whether to specify in detail the grounds for discrimination spelled out in article 2 of the Convention. The prevailing view was that to spell out those grounds in the bill would give a false impression of the reality, which is that there is no discrimination at all in the country. Based on this opinion, the term “every citizen” was chosen in its widest sense to include all citizens without discrimination of any kind.

65.The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a State of one single people and does not, therefore, have such social issues as discrimination based on race, colour, language and national origin. Before August 1945, the Korean nation was subjugated by severe national discrimination and humiliation under the colonial rule of the Japanese imperialists. The Korean children had no access to school to learn the Korean language and letters. During the Second World War, about 200,000 Korean women, many of whom were minor girls, were carried away as “comfort women” for Japanese soldiers and forced into sexual slavery. The national liberation removed the basis for racial discrimination. In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, there are no refugees from other countries except the children of Chinese immigrants. Under the legislation on equal rights for all, the children of foreigners are also guaranteed the rights contained in the Convention without any discrimination. They enjoy all social benefits provided by the State, including free medical care and compulsory free education on an equal footing with Korean children. During the reporting period, the Government looked into how the Chinese schools in each province operated in order to enhance State support for them and took measures, instructing local government organs to help graduates, without discrimination, continue on to a higher level of education or find a job, according to their wishes and abilities.

66.Article 15 of the newly adopted Education Law provides for the measures to be adopted by local government organs to ensure compulsory secondary general education for the children in deep mountain, isolated island and other remote areas and for disabled children, including the blind and the deaf and dumb. This is the provision that has legally fixed the State policy of providing education without discrimination to children in remote areas and disabled children. The State has long been introducing such steps as operating a school bus for 5-6 children in deep mountain areas or setting up a branch school in an isolated island and assigning a teacher for 4‑5 children there to provide children in rural areas with educational conditions equal to those in urban areas. Thus, there are school buses or trains in remote mountain areas and school boats on the coast. Children who are blind, deaf and dumb have their own schools where they learn communication and other vocational skills suitable to their physical capacities, but other disabled children attend school like other children, without any discrimination, and mix with them. One schoolmistress had for several years carried a child crippled with poliomyelitis on her back to a school 6 kilometres away to be educated there, without a charging fee. There are many examples of noble human beings or excellent teachers who sincerely care for children and devote their lives to others. The Government brought to light and praised a number of such noble persons, and disseminated their examples widely during the reporting period as an encouragement.

67.As mentioned in paragraph 40 (b) of the initial report, sexual equality has been firmly established as a social consciousness and there is no discrimination against girls.

68.It was seen to that the State bodies of statistics brought together the statistical data on different groups of children on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis. The Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Health and other organs concerned with the child synthesized their own branch statistical data and public organizations, including the youth league and the women’s union, also collected the requested data. These were reported to NCRC so that it might have a clear picture of the realities.

69.The Government develops its relations with other countries on the basis of the ideals of independence, peace and friendship, opposing any tendency to incite groundless antagonism between social or ethnic groups, racism and xenophobia. The people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, who had been subjected to maltreatment and humiliation, having been a colony of a foreign force for nearly half a century, are strongly opposed to racial discrimination and antagonism.

70.There has not been any report of a child being subjected to a form of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions or beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians or family members. Discrimination is strictly prohibited by law and State policy and does not exist in reality.

71.The principle of non-discrimination has been broadly reflected in the laws and regulations and is being efficiently implemented. However, there are other issues to be resolved. The educational facilities in rural nurseries and kindergartens are not as modern as those in urban areas, and the clinics attached to rural schools are not as well equipped as those in urban areas. Besides, the rural establishments concerned with the child were more severely struck by the recent natural disasters. The Government is determined to narrow the gap between urban and rural areas by setting up more child-related establishments in the course of carrying out the policy of eliminating differences between urban and rural areas in the ideological, technical and cultural fields. The Government focused State investment and social assistance on the stricken rural areas during the reporting period in order to eradicate rapidly the effects of the damage suffered by child-related establishments.

B. Best interests of the child (art. 3)

72.The principle of the best interests of the child and the need for it to be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children is fully reflected in the Constitution and relevant national laws and regulations (see paras. 41-43 of the initial report).

73.The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has established the principle of the best interests of the child as a primary consideration in the work of the courts of law, population administrative authorities and other child-related establishments (see paras. 44-47 of the initial report). During the reporting period, the regional people’s courts dealt with 121 divorce cases and the population administrative authorities under the county people’s committees dealt with 113 adoption cases and 12 cases of annulment of adoption on the basis of the legislation providing for the principle of the best interests of the child.

74.The best interests of the child have been given primary consideration in family life, school life and social life. In line with the State policy of providing special protection for the child, every family in the flood-stricken regions made active efforts to maintain the health of children and not to interrupt their school attendance in the difficult conditions, and schoolteachers made a searching inquiry into school-age children to register and educate all of them without exception. The Government allowed the local inns and public catering establishments to provide care for children with no parents on a voluntary basis and encouraged such acts to be widely displayed in the community. The principle of the best interests of the child was a primary consideration in budgetary allocations, planning and development policies, immigration, administration of juvenile justice and in the work of institutions concerned with children, as well.

75.As stated in the initial report, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has an efficient legal and institutional system whereby parents, legal guardians and those legally responsible for children assume the duty of protection necessary for the well-being of the child and devote primary attention to the child. However, in view of the difficulties caused by natural calamities, State measures were needed to implement the principle of the best interests of the child. The State arranged for orphans in stricken regions to be reared free of charge at kindergartens, orphanages and educational institutions and arranged adoption or foster placement in order to provide more favourable living conditions and a family environment to a number of children.

76.Schools, kindergartens, orphanages, children’s libraries, wards and other child-related institutions and facilities apply standards established by the State in relation to the number of teachers, nurses or governesses per a certain number of children, and other conditions. During the reporting period, the State paid a great deal of attention to compliance with those standards. For example, it was seen to that a primary school class did not exceed 30 children and had one teacher in charge. In accordance with the policy of running school clinics, a clinic consisting of a doctor, a junior doctor and a nurse was attached to each school. Following the city construction standard of building more than one children’s park in each region of about 1,000 inhabitants, each urban district built children’s parks. Under the State requirement of setting up one children’s library in each urban district and rural county, 30-odd counties and districts have recently established children’s libraries.

77.There are some problems to be solved for the best interests of the child. Although the legal requirement to take into consideration the best interests of the child is explicit, the material and technical foundation for its full realization needs to be improved, and some individual officers working for the child proved to be irresponsible. These partial shortcomings and mistakes are related to the aftermath of the natural disasters as well. The Government is making every effort to consolidate the material and technical foundation of all child-related institutions and facilities in the city and countryside, allocating more resources to the work and mobilizing social assistance. At the same time, the Government instils in the officers concerned a sense of responsibility towards their job and solves the problems arising in their life so that they may feel honoured and proud of their social duty and devote themselves to the work for the child.

78.The Government has consistently required that those officials dealing with children’s rights should always bear in mind the principle of the best interests of the child. The principle was applied in two basic ways in the education of officials. One was to teach or supply materials on the fundamental requirement and content of the principle, its validity, significance, etc. so as to raise their consciousness and responsibility, and the other was to adopt detailed legislation embodying the principle and allowing the officials to deal with their everyday work in accordance with it by improving the atmosphere of law enforcement. These methods were widely applied to the training of professionals dealing with children’s rights during the reporting period and showed satisfactory results.

C. Right to life, survival and development of the child (art. 6)

79.As was described in the initial report, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has sufficient legislation to guarantee the right to life and ensure the physical, mental, spiritual, moral and psychological development of the child. The Education Law enacted during the reporting period provides for the thorough embodiment in education of the pedagogical doctrine of bringing up children possessed of noble ideological consciousness, profound scientific and technical knowledge and a healthy body (art. 3), the combination of education with practical activities in order to develop both useful knowledge and practical ability (art. 4), and the establishment of a proper education system to assure the satisfactory education of children with outstanding gifts or qualities (art. 6). The Law on Medical Care enacted in December 1997 provides for a universal and complete free medical care system (art. 3) whereby doctors responsibly take care of the health of the population (art. 4), favouring prevention ahead of treatment and regularly carrying out hygienic and anti-epidemic work and environmental protection work (art. 5). The Infectious Diseases Prevention Law enacted in November 1997 provides that preventive inoculation should be carried out in a planned way by establishing an inoculation system for the prevention of infectious diseases (art. 5 and chap. 4). These legislative measures were urgently needed for creating an environment more favourable to ensuring, to the maximum extent possible, the right of the child to life, survival and development and the preparation of the child for an independent life when he or she is grown up (see paras. 120‑135 of the initial report for the legislative, institutional and policy-based measures for the survival and development of the child and their implementation).

80.The child mortality rate increased during the reporting period as against the early 1990s. The main reason was the successive natural disasters over a number of years and the resulting shortage of food and medicine. In recent years, thanks to the active efforts to eradicate the effects of natural disasters, the child mortality rate was reduced. During the reporting period, no incident of adolescent suicide or child suicide was reported. The Government, taking the view that suicide is usually based on feelings of inferiority, frustration, exclusion, failure of love in the case of adolescents or other psychological weaknesses, sought to eliminate the causes of such feelings by training children to be confident and cheerful in various ways. As a result, the youth and children of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are filled with pride, joy and optimism of life, even though they run short of many things and are in a difficult situation.

Table 2

Child (1-5 years of age) mortality rate (per 1,000)
















D. Respect for the views of the child (art. 12)

81.The right of the child to express his or her views freely and the provision for those views to be given due weight have been incorporated in legislation (see paras. 53-55 of the initial report). The Constitution, revised and supplemented in September 1998, maintained the provision of the former Constitution that all citizens of 17 or more years of age have the right to vote and to be elected. The Election Law stipulates the same. This means that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea offers young males and females of 17 years of age the opportunity to express their political will and fully respects it in formulating State policies.

82.Various measures have been taken to ensure the right of the child to express views in a manner consistent with his or her evolving capacities. In most of the families, children have no problem expressing their views. The population administrative bodies paid a great deal of attention to whether or not adopted children or children in foster placement had any trouble in their freedom of expression. The local population administrative organs visited the adoptive or foster families, provided them with special conditions and met the children more than once a month to collect their opinions and solve their problems on a regular basis. The principal means by which children express their will in school is the organizational life of the youth league and the children’s corps. During the reporting period, the youth league and the children’s corps organized the life of youth and children at school in a diversified and interesting way appropriate to their psychological characteristics. Kindergartens, orphanages and other childcare institutional facilities have begun to take account of the wishes and needs of children so that they can cater for them in the administration of the facilities. No child expressed the intention to seek asylum during the reporting period.

83.The legislation concerning the opportunity for a child to speak in a court of law or intervene in legal proceedings is mentioned in paragraph 55 of the initial report. There has not been any case of restricting access to such legislation during the reporting period.

84.Children participate in making decisions on school administration through their organizations such as the youth league or the children’s corps, as well as mothers’ boards, parents’ boards, class meetings or children’s clubs organized in schools. Their will is reflected in the decisions of their local people’s assemblies through the representatives of the youth league or students.

85.The State took various measures to encourage children to exercise their right to express their views and to have those views respected by the public. Children’s access to publications and periodicals as well as to organizational life has enabled children to fully exercise their right to express their views and has prompted the women’s union, the youth league and local government organs engaged to educate and encourage families to respect the views of the child. The annual hours of child development courses provided for child-related staff are shown in table 3 below. The annual courses on the Convention included in the curriculum of educational institutions are shown in table 4 below.

Table 3

Annual hours of child development courses


6 hours

Public procurators

6 hours

People’s security officers

6 hours


12 hours

Health workers

12 hours

Other professionals

6-12 hours

Table 4

Annual courses on the Convention

Law Faculties

24 hours

Educational Faculties

24 hours

Medical Faculties

12 hours

Nurses’ training schools

12 hours

Departments of Social Sciences

12-24 hours

86.The views of the child obtained through public opinion, consultations and assessment of complaints are taken into consideration in legislative work and judicial decisions, and are positively reflected in child-related policies. Examples of the provisions added to the bill by the opinions of schoolchildren and parents are article 31, paragraph 1, of the Education Law, which provides that “educational institutions shall determine their educational content and method in view of the object of education and the characteristics of persons and progressively develop them along with the evolving educational stages”, and article 42, paragraph 1, of the same law which states: “Transport institutions and the organs, enterprises and organizations concerned shall preferentially ensure the conditions for [use by] pupils and students”. There were many cases in which judicial decisions were made on the basis of the views of the child obtained through consultation and complaints made by him/her. In addition, a number of public opinions based on the needs of the child were embodied in State policy. An example is the measures adopted after the natural disasters for the free supply of school uniforms and school materials to all schoolchildren.


A. Name and nationality (art. 7)

87.The details of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea legislation on birth registration, family name, given name and nationality of a child were described in paragraphs 57-61 of the initial report.

88.There have been no cases during the reporting period of non-registered children or of children not registered immediately after birth. Since all sorts of social benefits are allocated by birth registration, there is no evasion, negligence or interruption of birth registration even in rural or remote areas.

89.During the reporting period, short training courses on birth and other identity registration were organized once every year (for two days) for the full-time officers of population registration organs.

90.The particulars of a child’s identity in birth registration are family name, given name, birth date, parents’ names, birthplace, nationality, citizenship, and so on. There has not been any kind of stigmatization of or discrimination against children on account of certain details given in their registered identity.

91.Since the Nationality Law applies both the principle of kinship (jus sanguinis) and the principle of birth place (jus soli), there are no grounds for children born in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to be stateless. The children born out of wedlock are fully entitled to acquire nationality, as well. It is not permitted for a child whose parents have different nationalities to acquire both of them. In this case, one of the two nationalities is given to the child by consent of the parents.

B. Preservation of identity (art. 8)

92.See paragraphs 62-66 of the initial report.

C. Freedom of expression (art. 13)

93.See paragraphs 67-71 of the initial report.

94.The restrictions mentioned in article 13, paragraph 2, of the Convention are provided by law. A person who insults another or who impairs his or her honour by abusing freedom of expression (article 152 of the Criminal Law), or who causes social disruption by spreading false or unconfirmed rumours that might cause social disorder or discredit the State (article 105 of the Criminal Law) is committed to a reform institution if he or she is an adult, and is placed under the responsibility of a public organization to be educated if he or she is a minor. These legal provisions are intended to allow freedom of expression to be exercised in a reasonable way and not disturb social harmony. No cases of abusing freedom of expression were reported during the current reporting period.

D. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion (art. 14)

95.See paragraphs 79-80 of the initial report.

96.Article 68, paragraph 2, of the Constitution states: “Religion must not be used as a pretext for drawing in foreign forces or for harming the State and social order”. Foreign forces in this provision means the foreign aggressive forces that invade other countries to violate their sovereignty. The Korean people still remember those who under the cloak of religion infiltrated the country to engage in acts of espionage, subversion, sabotage and ideological disruption, causing serious harm to their independent development. The State fully ensured freedom of religion while keeping it from infringing upon the security of the country during the reporting period.

E. Freedom of association and of peaceful assembly (art. 15)

97.See paragraphs 81 and 82 of the initial report.

98.Article 151 of the Criminal Law provides for the strict punishment of a person who illegally restricts the freedom of another. This provision is also applied to the restriction of children’s freedom of association and assembly. No cases of restricting such freedom were reported during the reporting period.

F. Protection of privacy (art. 16)

99.See paragraphs 83-85 of the initial report.

100.There was no arbitrary or unlawful interference with the child’s privacy during the reporting period. For the protection of the privacy of children placed in institutions, reference pamphlets were published and distributed to the officials concerned.

G. Access to appropriate information (art. 17)

101.See paragraphs 72-78 of the initial report.

102.The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea exchanged a memorandum of understanding with the Children’s Aid Direct, a non-governmental organization based in the United Kingdom, in September 1996 and began close cooperation with it in the exchange and dissemination of information and data on social and cultural benefits given to children. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has received assistance in the fields of education, public health and well-being of the child from international organizations, including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the governmental and non‑governmental organizations of other countries, much of which was useful information for the children’s spiritual and moral development, physical training and health.

103.In disseminating the information, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea kept a watchful eye on the elements that might disturb State security, public order and the sound spiritual and moral development of the child. Serious attention was paid, in particular, to preventing pornographic, immoral, chauvinistic and dishonest ideology, literature and art from entering the country, and rules on export and import of publications were introduced. These measures proved to be effective in educating children in the noble spirit of loving people, the motherland and the nation and in protecting their sound ideological and spiritual development.

H.Right not to be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhumanor degrading treatment or punishment (art. 37, para. (a))

104.See paragraphs 86-89 of the initial report.

105.The Criminal Law provides that a person who causes grave consequences by deliberately not fulfilling their duty to protect the elderly, children and disabled people (art. 136), or who damages the health of a person who is his or her subordinate or of a person under his or her protection, or who causes a person to commit suicide because of maltreatment (art. 137), or who commits violence by such means as beating (art. 149) shall be committed to a reform institution. The Law on Complaints and Petitions adopted in June 1998 stipulates that a citizen who has a justifiable reason or ground may submit a complaint or petition to individual officials and institutions, enterprises or organizations at all levels up to the highest organ of government (art. 8, para. 2) and that a citizen may submit a complaint personally, or through a guardian or a representative in unavoidable cases (art. 9). Under these provisions, administrative or penal measures are imposed on a person who maltreats or fails in his duty to care for a child, depending on the gravity of the offence, and a child may submit a complaint in person or through a guardian or representative to a population administrative official or a people’s security or public procuratorial organ when his or her interest is encroached upon. There have been no cases of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of children during the reporting period.

106.Article 12, paragraph 6, of the Regulation on Primary and Senior Middle Schools provides that education of children shall be conducted by positive influence, explanation and persuasion. The Ministry of Education published and distributed education materials which have a positive influence on teachers in kindergartens and primary and senior middle schools, as well as on nurses or educational personnel in childcare institutions. The women’s union disseminated family education materials to mothers so that they might refer to them in educating their children.

107.The population administrative and public procuratorial organs regularly review the situation with regard to the treatment of children. NCRC selectively looks into the situation to take the necessary measures.

108.An old Korean proverb says: “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. According to reports, some parents, influenced by outdated ideas, dealt with their children with excessive severity, using corporal punishment in some cases. Following consideration of the initial report, the Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended the adoption of a comprehensive strategy to completely do away with corporal punishment in families and childcare institutions. During the reporting period, NCRC saw to it that education materials having a positive influence and family education materials containing advanced methods of educating children were published and disseminated (see para. 106 of the present report). If public opinion reveals that certain families resort to excessive force in educating their children, the officials of the dong (village) office or the members of the people’s neighbourhood unit take steps to educate the parents or legal guardians.


A. Parental guidance (art. 5)

109.For the legislative measures on the guidance of parents and legal guardians, see paragraphs 90-91 of the initial report.

110.The general family structure of Korean society is parents plus children. Many Korean families have their old parents living with them, but there is no tradition of extended family. Under article 27 of the Family Law, parents assume the duty of educating their children. The Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Education drew up and published guidelines for enhancing the education level of nursery school and kindergarten teachers. The Central Committee of the Korean Democratic Women’s Union held a conference for the union activists at which it discussed the issue of enhancing the responsibility and role of parents and legal guardians. As a result, the moral values of children were improved and their mental development further accelerated.

111.In 1998, lectures were given in all local areas by teachers and lawyers on themes such as “The position and role of mothers in child education” and “Parents are the model in child education”. The women’s union gave explanatory talks on the same subjects in neighbourhood units. The public opinion polls showed that the lectures and talks made parents more responsible and knowledgeable in the field of child education (see also para. 93 of the initial report).

112.A remarkable advance achieved in the implementation of article 5 of the Convention is that more materials on child education, including education readers or guidelines, were supplied to parents to improve their knowledge of the pedagogical methods of child education. Some parents, however, are still negligent in parental guidance (see para. 92 of the initial report).

B. Parental responsibilities (art. 18, paras. 1 and 2)

113.See paragraphs 94-95 of the initial report.

114.The State paid much attention to child-rearing institutions during the reporting period. The child-rearing institutions include the weekly nurseries and kindergartens for the women working in the fields of scientific research, art and education, orphans’ nurseries, kindergartens, and primary and secondary schools for rearing the children who have no parents or who cannot be cared for by their parents. The children in these institutions are supplied free of charge by the State with all clothing, food, school materials and daily necessities (see also paragraph 96 of the initial report).

115.Statistics on orphaned children who have benefited from the above-mentioned measures are shown in table 5 below. For the progress and shortcomings in the implementation of article 18 of the Convention, see paragraph 112 of the present report. The Government is willing to develop more efficient methods of enhancing parental responsibility in child education in cooperation with UNICEF and other international organizations while generalizing the experiences gained.

Table 5

Child-rearing institutions

Kind of institution


Number of institutions

Number of children

Orphans’ nursery



1 863

Orphans’ kindergarten



1 544

Orphans’ primary school



1 529

Orphans’ senior middle school


2 881

C. Separation from parents (art. 9)

116.See paragraphs 98-101 of the initial report for the legislative and judicial measures for the implementation of article 9 of the Convention. The issue of separating children from their parents arises generally in the context of a court hearing about a divorce case or when parents suffering from infectious or mental disease receive medical treatment. The statistics on children in some specific counties and cities who were separated from either or both parents as a result of divorce are shown in table 6 below.

Table 6

Children separated from their parents, 1998


Either/both parents


Junghwa county



Hamju county



Wansan city



Kaechon city



117.The information on the legislative measures taken to ensure to all interested parties, including the child, an opportunity to participate in any proceedings and to freely make their views known has been described in paragraph 57 of the present report.

118.The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea does not have any legislative restrictions on the rights of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contacts with both parents on a regular basis except if it is contrary to the best interests of the child. The children of divorced parents are free to maintain personal contact with their parents who live apart at any time.

119.There is no problem at all in providing children with information on the whereabouts of their parents who live abroad. But such information may not be provided to children when the parents are under reform through labour, or have been punished with death for an extremely serious crime, or when the information would be psychologically detrimental to children. If parents suffer from a severe illness in the institution for reform through labour, the organ concerned informs the children or relatives of the fact insofar as it is not detrimental to young children.

120.The following table contains selective statistics on children whose parents are undergoing reform through labour.

Table 7

Number of children whose parents are undergoing reform through labour


Single parent/both parents


Number of family

Janggang county




Tongchon county




Kimchaek city




Songrim city




D. Family reunification (art. 10)

121.Under the Immigration Law enacted on 19 January 1996, citizens and foreigners with proper immigration certificates may enter or leave the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Minors accompanying a guardian do not need a separate certificate for immigration. Foreigners go through immigration procedures by themselves, but for minors their guardians may act on their behalf. There is no restriction on entering or leaving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea except where the person concerned has committed a crime. The Chinese residents in Korea leave and enter the country for the purpose of family reunification or to pay a visit to their parents and relatives with the permission of their consular representative mission.

122.Following consideration of the initial report, the Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed its concern about family reunification and recommended that the necessary measures be taken in this regard. As a result, NCRC reviewed, on a national scale, the situation of divided families. Some families were found to have been divided by war, not knowing whether their relatives were dead or alive. Through the family reunification work conducted by the Ministry of People’s Security, 12 families comprising 83 persons have been reunited since 1996 after about 45 years of separation. Those separated when they were children met each other in their fifties or sixties.

123.The Korean war (1950-1953) produced a number of families artificially divided between the north and south. The Government is making strenuous efforts to put an end to this tragedy as soon as possible.

124.The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has no legal restrictions on family reunification. Divorced couples may be reunited any time by mutual consent of the parties concerned, and convicted parents may be freely reunited with their children after serving their sentence. No restrictions are imposed on the reunion of foreign children with their parents abroad either. During the reporting period alone, 247 divorced couples were reunited, bringing back 603 children to live with both their parents, and 1,543 parents came to live with their children after their reform through labour. Many children of Chinese residents also visited China to see their relatives.

E. Illicit transfer and non-return (art. 11)

125.See paragraph 113 of the initial report.

F. Recovery of maintenance for the child (art. 27, para. 4)

126.See paragraphs 104-106 of the initial report.

127.In the case of a divorced couple with children, the issue of child maintenance is considered first. If a family rears a child with no parents, the State secures the recovery

of maintenance. In this case, no fees are charged for admission to a nursery, kindergarten or school, and the money for food and daily subsistence is given to the foster family.

128.Table 8 below contains selective statistics for 1998 on the recovery of maintenance for children.

Table 8

Number of children whose maintenance has been recovered


Number of children whose maintenance is recovered by divorced parent

Number of children whose maintenance is recovered by the State

Number of children whose maintenance is recovered from abroad




Jonchon county




Hwangju county




Sunchon city




G. Children deprived of a family environment (art. 20)

129.For the legislative measures adopted in this regard, see paragraph 107 of the initial report.

130.Following consideration of the initial report, the Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that children deprived of a family environment be given some experience of it. For this reason, NCRC widely publicized the importance of a family environment in child‑rearing among families of different social strata and children deprived of their family environment. As a result, a large number of orphans in the child-rearing institutions run by the State have had harmonious relations with new families. However, some of the children who were used to being in the care of the State and who were as close to the nurses and teachers as to their blood parents refused to live in an unfamiliar family environment.

131.The Korean nation is a homogeneous nation constituted and consolidated through a long history, and everyone has one and the same cultural background. Equality is the basic principle in the social life of Koreans. In caring for the children deprived of their family environment, too, there is no national, social or ethnic discrimination.

132.According to a national survey conducted by NCRC, hundreds of families are rearing children who have lost parents as a result of a natural disaster or for other reasons. NCRC, while more actively conducting activities to provide a family environment to children who have been deprived of it, will see to it that more funds are allocated by the State in order to improve the living conditions of the child-rearing institutions.

H. Adoption (art. 21)

133. The legislation on adoption is described in paragraphs 109-111 of the initial report. The State authority competent to authorize the adoption of a child is the local population administration organ. The adoption of a child requires the consent of parents, relatives, nurses and teachers, among others. However, the adoption of a child who has the capacity of independent expression of will only requires the consent of the child concerned. There is no separate monitoring mechanism in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but the ri or dong office monitors the situation of adoption on a regular basis through people’s neighbourhood units to correct deviations. In principle, the identity of a child is not changed by adoption. The family name of a child, however, may be changed to that of the adoptive parents when the maintenance of relations with his or her own parents is detrimental to the best interests of the child or the child himself or herself so requires. The right of the child to know his or her biological parents is guaranteed in the principle of the best interests of the child.

134.For intercountry adoption, see paragraph 112 of the initial report. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea does not prohibit nor does it encourage intercountry adoption. Children tend not to leave their own country where they enjoy universal free medical care and compulsory free education, and where their parents and relatives live and to which they are so much attached.

I. Periodic review of placement (art. 25)

135.The legislative measures for periodic review of child placement and the authority of the reviewing bodies are described in paragraphs 116-119 of the initial report.

136.As was described in the initial report, the bodies in charge of periodic review of child placement are the relevant departments of such child-related ministries as the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Public Health as well as local government organs. The Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly supervises the review or inspection activities of the public procuratorial, people’s security and inspection organs and of the ministries and local government organs concerned. NCRC also selectively reviews and coordinates the placement of children according to certain indicators. The Cabinet puts review materials together in order to enable the Government to adopt administrative and organizational measures. The placement of children is reviewed periodically according to plan. The review is conducted monthly at ri or dong level, quarterly at county or district level, biannually at provincial or municipal level and annually by the Cabinet and the Central Statistics Bureau.

137.The State statistics collected in 1998 under the indicator stipulated in the guidelines are given in table 9 below. There were no asylum-seeking or refugee children during the reporting period. The children who broke the law were assigned to public education in accordance with the Criminal Law. A total of 3,580 children without parents because of natural disasters or for other reasons were either adopted, put in foster care, or placed in child‑rearing institutions.

Table 9

Child placement


Gender male/female

Children of workers or peasants

Institutional care

Rural residents

Foreign nationals






1 127

1 863






1 544





1 218

1 529




1 119/1 076

1 891

2 881

1 047


138. Some progress was achieved in the periodic review of child placement during the reporting period. The review indicators were broadened considerably by the application of international standards to the realities of the country , in cooperation with UNICEF, whereas the previous reviews had been conducted using only basic indicators. But there is much to be improved in the use of statistical ind icators or of up-to-date statistical techniques . The D emocratic People’s Republic of Korea is willing to solve this problem by actively mobilizing its own resources and through exchange and cooperation with international organizations and other countries.

J.Abuse and neglect (art. 19), including physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration (art. 39)

139. Following consideration of the initial report, the Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed its concern about the Government’s way of dealing with child abuse in families, and recommended comprehensive research to better grasp the characteristics and range of the acts mentioned in article 19 of the Convention. Therefore, NCRC, while taking national education measures to prevent child abuse, conducted research into this practice and influenced the decision of the State organs concerned to focus attention on this issue. The Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea reviewed the legislation to prevent child abuse, enhanced the role of population administrative, childcare and education organs, and conducted campaigns to educate the personnel concerned and parents.

140. The penal measures to prevent child abuse are described in paragraph 114 of the initial report. The Family Law, the Law on the Care and Upbringing of Children and other relevant laws provide for the progressive methods of child education (see para . 12 above).

141. A child is entitled to lodge complaints, directly or through a representative, with the local government organs at all levels and the competent State authority against violence, infringement of rights, maltreatment, neglect, etc. This right is guaranteed by the Law on Complaints and Petitions. The damage caused by violence, abuse, neglect or violations of rights is compensated by various indemnification procedures. If a child asks for protection from violence, abuse or neglect, the population administrative authority takes various strict measures, including the alteration of care responsibility. With regard to educational or other measures taken to encourage non-violent punishment, protection and treatment of the child, see paragraphs 111 and 112 above.

142. The department of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly in charge of supervising the application of the law and the public procuratorial organs at all levels monitor on a regular basis the existence of elements of violence, injury, abuse, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation within the family or penal institutions. NCRC monitors the state of supervision from time to time and, if need be, conducts direct investigation work. There have been no cases of abuse in the special childcare facilities during the reporting period, but some cases of abuse were reported in families with step-parents. Some selected statistics of social concern are shown below.

Table 10

Selected statistics on cases of child abuse















143. Teachers and medical doctors working for children report daily to the competent organs on their work under the obligatory reporting system. The local government organ or school gives advice and takes extreme care of the child who suffers from violation, injury, abuse, etc. Special lectures on the protection of the child are given more than once a year to people’s security officers, teachers, doctors and other personnel working with and for children.

144.The physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of the child victim of any form of neglect, exploitation or abuse referred to in article 19 of the Convention is undertaken by local government organs. Until now, there has been no case requiring special recovery measures (see also paragraph 115 of the initial report).

145.The progress achieved in the implementation of article 19 of the Convention is that the awareness of the local officials and the child-related organs concerned, as well as of parents, has been improved and child maltreatment has disappeared except in a very few step-parent families. As violence, abuse, neglect, maltreatment and exploitation of children are no longer a social issue, the social reintegration of the victim is no longer a matter of great concern. The Government is willing to generalize the advanced methods of child education to the whole society so as to put an end to neglect or maltreatment of children by some step-parents in the near future.


A. Disabled children (art. 23)

146.The special benefits for disabled children and the actively encouraged social traits to help them were basically described in paragraphs 136-140 of the initial report. NCRC, in view of the concerns and recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child formulated following consideration of the initial report, reinvestigated the details of whether there was any actual discrimination against disabled children; whether they fully benefited from the health, educational and social services; how they were integrated into the society and how the workers dealing with disabled children were being trained. It also looked into the realities of the early diagnosis programme for the prevention of congenital deformity at maternity hospitals and of the supply to the disabled children of alternative care conditions that take the place of special care institutions, and studied the measures to be adopted. These investigations showed that the rights of disabled children were being basically guaranteed in reality.

147.The investigation confirmed that there were no legislative or social grounds for discrimination against or neglect of disabled children in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. However, some children in kindergartens or primary schools were reluctant to mix with disabled children, which might cause disabled children to feel discriminated against or isolated. The measures taken to overcome this problem consisted in enhancing the role of parents and teachers. Parents and teachers were encouraged to pay more attention to disabled children, and children began to accept their disabled friends. At present, there is no discrimination against or disregard of disabled children among senior middle-school children or young people who have gone out into society.

148.As was stated in the initial report, for the special category of disabled children like the deaf and dumb or the blind, there are special schools for them set up to develop their personality and their ability to live independently by providing them with educational conditions suitable to their individual characteristics, but other groups of disabled children are integrated in mainstream education and the everyday life of society.

149.Local government organs pay families with disabled children State subsidy. The education or health services for disabled children are all offered free of charge.

150.The situation of disabled children was evaluated basically by the method of putting together the State benefits allocated to them.

Table 11

State benefits for disabled children


Twice a month


Twice a year

School materials

Once quarterly

Medicines and medical care

When necessary

151.NCRC developed a new system of surveying and monitoring the situation of disabled children. It was to bring together and compare the results collected by the public health organs of the whole country with the results collected by the population administration departments of local government organs and educational institutions. On 29 July 1998, the Korean Association to Assist the Handicapped was set up. This organization surveys and monitors the situation of the handicapped throughout the country to take measures for their recovery and treatment, and looks after their health and life.

152.The local government organs concerned investigated the education and living conditions of disabled children and NCRC assessed the shortcomings and recommended to the Government the measures to redress them.

153.Many positive experiences of medical, psychological and functional treatment of disabled children were reported during the reporting period. A woman doctor in Sonchon county, North Pyongan province, restored the eyesight of some 40 blind children by using a new method of cornea transplantation and a doctor of the Hamheung Medical University Hospital treated some 20 deaf and dumb children by special acupuncture and homeopathy. The Pyongyang Koryo General Medicine Hospital treated some 30 persons suffering from poliomyelitis by properly combining manual, acupuncture and homeopathic techniques. The Ministry of Public Health plans to exchange these experiences in the treatment of disabled children internationally in cooperation with the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Handicap International. It is also willing to take advantage of every possible international cooperation in the realization of the early diagnosis programme under the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (General Assembly resolution 48/97).

154.The employment rate of disabled children was about 90 per cent during the reporting period. The average State assistance offered to a disabled child of 11-17 years of age was over 3,200 won a year.

B. Health and health services (art. 24)

155.Paragraphs 141-148 of the initial report give details of the legislative situation and the invariable State policy with regard to the implementation of the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for treatment and rehabilitation. No child had his or her right to health care violated during the reporting period.

156.The major change since the submission of the initial report was the weakened material and technical foundation for child health services and the lowered standard of some of the child health indicators due to the severe natural disasters. Child mortality and child morbidity increased and the qualitative standard of health service declined as compared with the period covered by the initial report. But now, through the concerted efforts of the Government and people to remove the consequences of natural disasters and the international cooperation in various forms, the general health situation of children is getting better and the standard of health services has been restored to that of the early 1990s.

157.In 1998, the infant mortality rate was 24 per 1,000 newborns and the under-5 mortality rate was 50 per 1,000. The infant and child mortality rates decreased in 1999 and 2000.

Table 12

Infant and child (under-5) mortality rate (per 1,000)
























158.Every child is provided with primary health care. This is ensured through the cooperation of the paediatricians of city, county or ri people’s hospitals and the family doctors. In primary health care during the reporting period, great attention was given to taking measures to prevent diarrhoea and respiratory infections, especially pneumonia.

159.As from 2000, the general immunization system has been as follows: immunization is regularly conducted according to the State immunization calendar and through the regular preventive inoculation system established from the centre down to province, city, county and ri. Vaccines, produced by the well-arranged local bases in a planned way, is supplied to all regions through the fixed supply system after being checked by provincial examiners. The immunization doctors, totalling more than 700 in the central, provincial, municipal or county sanitary and anti‑epidemic centres, certify the immunization results. At present, some 10,000 ad hoc inoculation groups organized across the country work regularly and make efforts to strengthen the cold chain. The reporting period witnessed partial breakdown of the immunization system due to disruption of the production of vaccines because of natural disasters, but it is now being progressively restored.

160.Local government organs and the institutions concerned took various steps to improve the nutritional situation of children during the reporting period. Although the situation was hard, every possible domestic resource was mobilized and the international assistance was effectively made use of, in line with the principle of the best interests of the child. Nutritious foods for the child include nutritious rice powder, rice powder for babies, nutritious protein powder, milk, fish, meat, eggs, corn powder, fruit, sweets, vegetables, etc. The supply centres for nurseries and kindergartens run by the Ministry of Commerce and the provincial, city or county commercial administration and the rice supply centres in local population districts under the Ministry of Food Administration regularly supply nutritious foods and rice to nurseries and kindergartens. Children up to 17 years of age are supposed to be supplied with 110 cal/kg a day, but the diminished rice production caused by natural disasters disrupted regular supply. The officials concerned are making every effort to regularize this supply.

161.The proportion of children with low birth weight (less than 2.5 kg) was 8 per cent in 1998. Among children aged 6-11, the proportion of those with goitre was 15.5 per cent and with vitamin A deficiency 9.3 per cent in 1996.

162.The most frequent child diseases were diarrhoea, pneumonia, diseases of the large and small intestines, etc. The mortality rate among children aged 5 or below who died of diarrhoea was 17.5 per 1,000 in 1998.

163.The natural disasters produced a number of chronically malnourished children. Through the active efforts of the whole nation to overcome the consequences of those disasters, the number of such children is being significantly diminished. The proportion of malnourished children under the age of 5 was 16.5 per cent in 1998.

164.Following consideration of the initial report, the Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea pay special attention to the influence of environmental pollution on children. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is presently known as a non-polluting country. There has not yet been any report of children’s health being affected by pollution or any other environmental problem. But some local reports show that the lack of disinfectants prevents proper sterilization of drinking water. This may cause diarrhoea in children. The State will direct more attention to this issue in the near future.

165.Article 66 of the Labour Law provides that working women are entitled to maternity leave, 60 days before and 90 days after childbirth, irrespective of the length of their service. The proportion of pregnant women who had the benefit of birth assistance by professional medical institutions was 87.8 per cent in 1997. The proportion of pregnant women who had access more than once to prenatal health care by professional medical institutions was 100 per cent. Every province, city and county has a comprehensive childbirth facility, totalling 563 in the whole country. Ris have elementary childbirth facilities totalling 4,416. Nutritional insufficiency causes anaemia among women due to iron deficiency. According to an analysis carried out on women 15-49 years of age in 1997, 11.2 per cent of non-pregnant women and 23 per cent of pregnant women were anaemic. The number of women who died of pregnancy complications before or within 42 days after childbirth was 105 per 100,000 in 1997.

166.During the reporting period, the institutions and public organizations concerned conducted educational work to provide all segments of society, in particular parents and children, with the basic knowledge of health, sanitation, proper nutrition, the variety of nutritional food, the advantage of breastfeeding, treatment by appropriate physical exercises, environmental sanitation, etc. A lot of pamphlets on basic knowledge were published and disseminated to parents. The women’s union organized lectures for all women on child health, nutrition and the advantages of breastfeeding. Each city or county sanitary and anti-epidemic institution strictly inspects and controls public health conditions at bathrooms, barber shops, beauty salons, restaurants and hotels. The educational health institutions teach hygiene and dietetics as essential subjects.

167.There were no early pregnancies during the reporting period. Sex education is given to adolescents in their fifth or sixth year of senior middle schools.

168.The three national surveys by the sanitary and anti-epidemic institution confirmed that HIV/AIDS has not yet come into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Adults and children are made well aware of the danger, cause and effects of HIV/AIDS through repeated lectures for different segments of the population.

169.The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea does not have such prejudicial practices as forced marriage or female genital mutilation.

170.Pursuant to article 24, paragraph 4, of the Convention, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea encouraged international cooperation and exchange in the fields of child health and medical services. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was supplied by WHO and UNICEF with new scientific and technical materials and expertise as well as a great deal of medicines, medical appliances and nutritional food.

C.Social security and childcare services and facilities(arts. 26 and 18, para. 3)

171.The right of the child to benefit from social security, including social insurance, is guaranteed by the Constitution (article 72, right to medical care, article 73, right to education, and article 77, paragraph 2, right of mothers and children to special protection by the provision of maternity leave, special benefits for mothers with several children, a wide network of maternity hospitals, crèches and kindergartens and other measures), as well as the relevant laws and regulations. For the full realization of the right to State and social benefit, there exists such legislation as the Education Law, chapter 2 (Universal compulsory free education system), the Public Health Law, chapter 2 (Complete and universal free medical care system), the Insurance Law (Insurance system for the child), among others. The resources for the realization of the benefits are the State and local budgets, the insurance money on deposit, etc. The State and social benefits for the child are realized either intensively or additionally according to the specific situation of the child concerned. For example, children affected by natural disasters were additionally provided with food, medicine, clothing and bedding free of charge over and above disaster insurance money.

172.Eligibility for social benefit is provided by law. In addition, eligibility is determined by the local government organs concerned through their investigation of people’s livelihoods and at the request of the person concerned or his/her representative. The amount of benefits offered is stipulated in detail in the Regulation on State and Social Insurance and Social Security and the parties are selected without any discrimination. The State and social benefits received by a child from birth to the end of senior middle school amount to 5,888 won. This is equal to an average worker’s salary of several years.

State and social benefit for a child in a nursery

1,244 won

State and social benefit for a child in kindergarten

662 won

State and social benefit for a child in primary school

1,368 won

State and social benefit for a child in senior middle school

2,514 won

State and social benefit for a baby and its mother at a maternity hospital

1,300 won

State and social benefit for an orphaned child

1,406 won

173.The measures taken to provide childcare services and facilities to the children of working parents pursuant to article 18, paragraph 3, are described in paragraphs 150 and 151 of the present report.

174.That progress has been achieved in the implementation of articles 26 and 18, paragraph 3, of the Convention is measured by the fact that the rights set forth in those provisions are reliably guaranteed by law. In particular, that “A child is the king of the country” is now firmly established in the social consciousness and the principle “Everything best to the child” has gained popularity. Every member of society considers it as an honourable duty and a source of pride to give first priority to children and actively work for them. Once the consequences of the natural disasters are removed and the difficulties facing the economy are overcome, the services offered to children will be placed on a solid material basis.

D. Standard of living (art. 27, paras. 1-3)

175.National legal measures were taken to ensure an adequate standard of living for the survival and development of children. Every child is supplied food nearly free of charge under article 7 of the Food Administration Law (enacted in February 1997), article 15 of the Law on the Care and Upbringing of Children, article 18 of the Education Law and other relevant enforcement regulations. The free medical care system is enforced for all children under chapter 2, articles 9-17, of the Public Health Law, and compulsory free education is provided for all school-age children under chapter 2, articles 12-18, of the Education Law. Children get the benefit of the State system of providing housing, together with their parents, under article 11 of the City Administration Law (enacted in January 1992) and the Regulation on the Provision of Accommodation, and are supplied at low cost with school uniforms and materials and daily necessities under articles 16 and 19 of the Law on Commerce (enacted in January 1992) and article 15 of the Law on Prices (enacted in January 1997), which states that the price of mass consumer goods and goods for children and pupils shall be fixed at a lower price than other goods. Given the legislative and institutional structure of the country, the real livelihood of the child depends exclusively upon the expansion of material productivity and the increase in national income. During the reporting period the successive natural disasters and various other difficulties significantly lowered the per capita national income compared with the early 1990s. This led to a worsening nutritional situation of the child and disrupted the normal living conditions. In 1992, the per capita national income was US$ 988, but in 1998 it was just US$ 457.

176.Parents and legal guardians elsewhere assume an important responsibility for ensuring adequate living conditions for the child, but in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, where the local government organs at all levels are the only providers, the livelihood of the child largely depends on the State. The State will be able to fulfil its role and responsibility to secure adequate living conditions for the child as it used to do only if the current economic difficulties are overcome.

177.The existing economic difficulties and the measures taken by the State to overcome them are described in paragraphs 24-31 of the present report. International cooperation offered to help remove the consequences of the natural disasters is referred to in paragraph 32 above. Thanks to national measures and international cooperation, the livelihood of the child is being restored to the level that existed before the time of natural disasters and will improve even further in the current century.


A. Education, including vocational training and guidance (art. 28)

178.The constitutional and national measures adopted to recognize and ensure the right of the child to education on the basis of equal opportunities are described in paragraphs 154 and 155 of the initial report.

179.The factory colleges as well as the crèches and kindergartens attached to factories, enterprises or cooperative farms are financially supported by the units concerned, which means that the actual expenditure on education far surpasses the official State budget for education. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, proceeding from its policy of not sparing anything if it is in the interest of the child, has systematically increased the expenditure on education each year, in accordance with the aim of establishing an independent economic system. Between 1990 and 1994, public expenditure on education and culture and the expenditure on education by factories, enterprises and cooperative farms grew year by year. However, during the reporting period, the actual expenditure on education, including the educational budget, decreased by about 69 per cent in 1996 as compared to 1994 (see para. 27 above). As all school‑age children are covered by the compulsory free education system, there is no need to provide financial support to families in this area. But the State provides families with three or more children with textbooks and school materials free of charge, and school uniforms are either free or at half price so that families are not burdened by their children’s schooling.

180.The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea consists of a single nation with a long history, and has no need to teach children in local, indigenous or minority languages. The Chinese immigrants run their own schools to educate their children in Chinese.

181.Co-education is general at the stage of compulsory education. At grades 5 and 6 of senior secondary schools, classes in household management, hygiene and sex education are given to girls as “optional” (practical) subjects. No child is in particularly difficult circumstances and, therefore, there has been no need to take steps for such children.

182.New progress has been made during the reporting period in the educational system and the methods of improving the quality of education and of developing individual skills. Accordingly, children who have a gift for art or sports are educated separately, from kindergarten to university. Those with extraordinary intellectual abilities are strictly selected to be enrolled in the No. 1 senior secondary schools of each city or county, which are the “genius education” establishments within the compulsory free education system. The extracurricular educational institutions such as schoolchildren’s activity centres and after-school sports facilities have been set up in all parts of the country to develop children according to their aptitude, talent and taste. Children are educated by experts in music, fine art, dance, sports, physics, chemistry, computer, and so on in after-school extracurricular educational establishments, in accordance with their choice. Extracurricular education has proved to be very effective. Members of the children’s art troupe that has been loudly applauded in many countries are children who have developed their talent from an early age through such extracurricular activities.

183.The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has a well-organized teacher training system to ensure that there are sufficient teachers. There are teacher training colleges for kindergarten and primary school teachers, and educational universities for senior secondary-school teachers. University or college teachers hold post-graduate diplomas. Each province has two to three educational universities and teacher training colleges and determines the number of teachers needed according to the number of children to be taught. Education has not been hindered by a shortage of teachers during the reporting period. Teachers are regularly given refresher courses so that they can keep abreast of new developments in science and technology, as well as of the pedagogical requirements of the times. For this reason there are central, provincial, city or county teacher retraining centres. All teachers receive additional training for a period of three to six months once every five years and for a short term twice a year in the teacher retraining centres. The short-term courses deal with the content and methods of teaching for the following term. The main centre draws up and distributes the teacher retraining programme and lecture schedules. Another way of improving the quality of practising teachers is the national examination for teachers organized once every three years. Those who pass the examination have their level upgraded (there are four different levels of teachers).

Table 13

Number of teachers (as of 1999)

Type of school

Number of teachers

Primary school

69 000

Senior middle school

112 000

184.The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has an orderly system of supplying adequate educational facilities to schools at all levels. There is a department for the production, supply and management of educational facilities in the Ministry of Education. Under this department there are factories producing experimental equipment and educational apparatus and materials. Each province has a supply agency for educational apparatus and materials, and each city or county a supply centre. Ordinary factories and enterprises also, produce teaching tools, experimental equipment and educational apparatus under State plan or contract. By virtue of the Education Law, the newly produced machinery or facilities are supplied to universities and colleges at a preferential rate. The Research Institute of Educational Apparatus and Experimental Equipment serves to ensure the quality of educational apparatus, materials and facilities. This Institute conducts research on the development of educational apparatus and experimental equipment and prepares new designs to be sent to the relevant factories or enterprises.

185.When the country was liberated in August 1945, the northern half of the Korean peninsular had more than 2,309,000 illiterate adults, of whom 81.3 per cent were female and 90 per cent peasants. The Government launched the motto, “First step to people’s civilization is the abolition of illiteracy!”, and led the whole nation to conduct a campaign for the eradication of illiteracy under the coordinated plan and guidance of the State. The task to completely eradicate illiteracy was elaborated in Decision No. 113 of the Provisional People’s Committee of North Korea: “On the rural anti-illiteracy campaign in the winter season” (25 November 1946), and the decision of the fifty-second session of the North Korean People’s Committee: “On the promotion of the anti-illiteracy campaign” (12 November 1947). As a result of this energetic campaign, illiteracy had been totally eradicated by March 1949. Those who learned letters were educated continuously in adult schools and adult secondary schools to be above the level of primary school graduates. Illiteracy ceased to exist as all children receive primary and secondary education by the introduction of the compulsory education system.

186.A non-formal education system is not needed in the field of general education as the 11‑year compulsory education is being enforced. However, there are such establishments for social education as schoolchildren’s activity centres, children’s union camps, children’s parks, children’s libraries and extracurricular sports schools that contribute to children’s after-school activities. Those who go out into society after their secondary general education are trained for a period of one to two years in the skill-training schools or vocational training centres that belong to the non-formal education system. Steps were taken in the reporting period to increase the number of skill-training schools and expand their enrolment capacity. The graduates of senior secondary schools are trained in special technical skills in the skill-training schools or vocational training centres without fail before they go out to work.

187.Handicapped young children and disadvantaged children not supported by their parents for different reasons are also fully guaranteed education for their development. There are 12 schools for the blind or the deaf and dumb in the country. These schools have primary classes for elementary education and higher classes for secondary education and give handicapped children vocational as well as general education in conformity with their age. They are all boarding schools and are run exclusively at the expense of the State. Other mentally or physically handicapped children are educated at the ordinary schools of their residential district with no discrimination (see para. 66 above). There are boarding schools in several areas for children living with a step-parent. Those children whose father or mother is a step-parent may go to such a school if both they and their parents so desire. These schools teach children to have harmonious relations with their teachers and friends, to study hard and to be well behaved. Those who have no parents or are unable to be supported by either of their parents go to nursery schools, kindergartens, primary schools or secondary schools for orphans, depending on their age. There used to be many such educational establishments for orphans during or after the Korean War (1950-1953), but now there are only 29 of them nationwide, as there are not many orphans. The sons and daughters of the patriotic martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the nation while serving in the people’s army or such laborious fields as coal or ore mining, fishing, etc. are brought up by the State at the school for orphaned children of revolutionary martyrs. They are educated there from primary to senior secondary school and receive special attention from the nation and the Government and are helped to go to universities or find suitable jobs.

188.Education is administered by the Ministry of Education under the guidance of the Cabinet. The provincial, city or county people’s committees also direct general education and the educational institutions concerned. Universities and teacher training colleges are directly under the authority of provincial people’s committees. The railway university, the music and dance university, the fine art university, the drama and cinematographic university and the arts colleges are directly under the responsibility of the ministries and central organs concerned, including the Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Culture. The skill-training schools are administered by the Ministry of Labour. The planning of the education-related construction, material supply, labour, etc. is comprehensively undertaken by the State Planning Commission based on the initiatives of the Ministry of Education, the ministries concerned and the provincial people’s committees. The State Ministry of Inspection and the procuratorial organs oversee the implementation of the education-related laws and State policies to put things right.

189.The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has long been enforcing the universal free education system and the 11-year compulsory education system and set up the part-time and the full-time higher education system. The standard of education may be said to have reached that in advanced countries, fully satisfying the demand. But the quality of education, especially in science and technology, is not satisfactory. Therefore, the Government pays a great deal of attention to improving the quality, rather than the quantity, of education. In the general education sector, up-to-date scientific and technological instruments should be developed and more books and reference material for children published and disseminated to enhance further the efficiency of education and study. In the higher education sector, more scientists and technicians should be trained in state-of-the art science and technology. To this end, the Government ought to increase public investment in education. But the economic difficulties caused by the successive natural disasters in recent years stand in the way of this effort. The Korean people and educational workers are trying hard to overcome the difficulties by themselves. Thus, the economy of the country is gradually picking up and the difficulties encountered in education are being surmounted.

190.Primary and secondary education have long been compulsory and all education is free in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (see paras. 156-164 of the initial report). Every 5- to 6-year-old child is enrolled in the one-year preschool compulsory education system, and 4- to 5‑year-old children are enrolled according to the wish of the parents. As of April 1999, the total number of kindergartens was 14,167 and that of kindergarteners 677,000. The minimum age for enrolment in the primary school was 6 and the enrolment rate of children 99.6 per cent, of whom more than 90 per cent continued their studies at a higher level. The total number of primary schools was 4,886 and that of primary school children 1,659,000. The duration of compulsory education is 11 years and the proportion of graduation 100 per cent. Those who are ill or have some special reason may stay away from school for a year or so and proceed with the compulsory education afterwards. All graduates of primary schools were enrolled in secondary schools and the number of senior middle-school children was 2,195,000 as of 1999. The enrolment rate in vocational technical schools of graduates of senior secondary schools is 100 per cent. There are those who proceed to higher education or who join the people’s army. The proportion of those proceeding to higher education is about 35 per cent of senior secondary‑school graduates. There is no drop-out among children up to the age of 16 years since expulsion or withdrawal from compulsory education is not permitted. Those who fail the graduation examination at the last grade of compulsory education are given a termination certificate instead of a diploma and may resit the exam the following year and receive their diploma if they pass it.

191.In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea there are no children who do not enjoy the right to education, nor is there any legislation by which children may be excluded from compulsory education temporarily or permanently. Disabled children may stay away from school temporarily, but are not excluded. There have been no cases of deprivation of liberty, pregnancy or HIV/AIDS infection among children up to the senior secondary school stage.

192.Reference has been made in the present report (see para. 106 above) to the effect that the law stipulates that education in primary and senior middle schools shall be given by explanation, persuasion and influence by good example. Educational institutions strictly prohibit all forms of violence, including corporal punishment, as well as any other disciplinary measures which are inconsistent with the child’s human dignity. The frequently used disciplinary measures at schools include admonition and deprivation of the right to attend school or to sit examinations. The application of such measures is subject to strict control by the educational administration organs. Schoolchildren are entitled to lodge complaints with the school authorities or the population administrative organ concerned against disciplinary measures and to be a party in lawsuits that may concern them, either directly or by proxy, in accordance with the codes of legal procedure.

193.The Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea actively promoted and encouraged international exchange and cooperation in matters relating to education during the reporting period with a view to facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge and modern teaching methods. The Government paid much attention to publicizing the benefits of advanced educational methods, which combine theoretical education with practical education, school education with social education, and which cover preschool education, regular school education and adult education. In lectures, the basic form of school education, the heuristic method is widely applied instead of cramming information into the heads of children. This method encourages independent active thinking and helps children assimilate what they learn. With assistance from UNICEF a centre of videotaped text materials has been established and with the aid of UNESCO paper has been supplied for the production of textbooks. A computer hall is being set up in the Grand People’s Study House for vocational technical training. The introduction of computers in education may be said to represent a step forward in improving educational methods. Nevertheless, not enough videotaped text materials have been supplied to rural schools, and the dissemination rate of computers and other modern educational equipment is much lower in rural schools than in urban schools.

B. Aims of education (art. 29)

194.During the current reporting period, the Government constantly maintained the aims of education mentioned in the initial report (paras. 171-177). The Education Law and its enforcement regulations which were enacted during this period clearly defined as the basic aims of education harmonious mental and physical development and possession of noble character and virtue. The declared aims are fundamentally consistent with the provisions of article 29 of the Convention.

195.New important measures were adopted in the reporting period to develop respect for the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential. In the previous days too, the children talented in music, dance, fine art or sports were educated in a special education system supplied with all necessary materials and those with extraordinary intellectual abilities were enrolled in the “genius education” system. But with the rapid development of society, it became necessary for “genius education” to expand its scope and further develop its standard. To this end, measures were taken at the end of 1999 to expand the capability and improve the curriculum of the No. 1 senior middle schools of each city (or district) and county.

196.It has been mentioned in paragraph 40 of this report that the rights contained in the Convention are taught as part of the curriculum. Education on the Convention is given side by side with that on human rights in general. The latter does not constitute an independent subject, but is included in the socio-political subjects and the subject of jurisprudence. Like the Convention, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are also taught in special lectures in higher educational institutions, universities or colleges.

197.The Government consistently encourages respect for other cultures, the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality and friendship among nations and respect for the natural environment (see paragraph 176 of the initial report).

198.All educational institutions within the regular educational system follow the curriculum approved by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry prepares and sends to the schools at various levels the curricula reflecting the aims of education stipulated in article 29 of the Convention. Teachers conduct teaching activities creatively in order to realize its aims. The schools at various levels decide the content and method of education in the light of the aims and organize the school machinery within the framework defined by the Ministry of Education.

199.In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea there is no need to establish private schools, as schools have been set up in every place where there are children and the free education system is enforced by the State. Therefore, there are no private schools. There are some centres established and run by expatriates for computer or foreign language education in the Rason economic and trade zone. In this case, the State does not need to adopt measures to ensure respect for the freedom of individuals or bodies to establish and run educational institutions. No legislation prohibits the establishment or operation of private schools.

C. Leisure, recreation and cultural activities (art. 31)

200.The initial report (paras. 178 and 179) described the legislation ensuring leisure, recreation and cultural activities.

201.In the reporting period, the Government paid attention to the development of plays and recreational activities appropriate to the age and maturity of the child. Above all, Koreans were encouraged to use the recreational grounds in different places around the country, including the Mangyongdae Fun Fair and the Taesongsan Fun Fair, wading pools and swimming places. Nurseries and kindergartens set up separate play and recreation rooms, and schools widely organized folk sports games in the physical education classes. Children are encouraged to play kite-flying, Korean shuttlecock, swinging, jumping, seesaw, rope jumping and other folk games. The play and recreational facilities that have been set up in nurseries and kindergartens number more than 150. The facilities for primary schools are basically arranged in fun fairs or amusement parks and such sports as water games or ice-skating are encouraged. Secondary school children, too, use the play and recreational facilities at fun fairs or amusement parks. Popular among children at this stage are chess, koni game, electronic games and other intellectual or study games. Schools widely develop study games in different subjects to help children in their schooling. Some 100 kinds of study games have been developed thus far.

202.Children take part in cultural, art and sports activities in various forms and methods. Music, fine art and sports are subjects in the school curriculum from kindergarten to primary and secondary school. Each school has after-school sports activities for more than one hour every day and operates music, fine art and sports circles. The State organizes kindergarteners’ art contests, school singing contests and athletic games every year. Different kinds of art contests and sports games are held nationwide at the expense of the State. Schoolchildren frequently go out to factories, firms and residential districts for art performances. Of special importance are the 15-day camping trips to scenic spots or the seaside. The camping is organized in spring, summer and autumn, and all expenses, including travel, are borne by the State. Besides, schools organize picnics, mountaineering and visits to places of scenic beauty and historical interest.

203.The measures taken by the Government with regard to leisure, literary, art and sports activities were described in paragraphs 180-184 of the initial report, and the broadcasts, publications and films for children in paragraphs 185-187 of that report.


A. Children in emergency situations (arts. 22, 38 and 39)

1. Refugee children

204.The legislative measures to ensure that refugee children receive appropriate protection and assistance were described in paragraph 188 of the initial report. During the current reporting period, there have been no children seeking refugee status or children considered as refugees for political or other reasons (see paragraph 189 of the initial report). Hence, the issue of protecting or assisting refugee children has not arisen.

2.Children in armed conflicts, including physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration

205.Since the Korean War, there have been no wars or armed conflictsadversely affecting the rights of the child. Children are prohibited by law from serving in the army (see paragraph 191 of the initial report). The legal minimum age for voluntary enlistment in the armed forces is 16, the age of graduating from senior middle school, but in practice volunteers take an oath to respect the military code of conduct and begin their regular military service only at the age of 17 after pre-service military education that lasts for six months or more, on a selective basis,with due regard to their health.

206.The policy maintained by the Government during the Korean War for the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of war orphans and other children is described in paragraph 192 of the initial report. During the current reporting period, this issue has not arisen.

B.Children involved with the system of administration of juvenile justice (arts. 37, 39 and 40)

1. The administration of juvenile justice

207.See paragraph 193 of the initial report.

208.Following consideration of the initial report the Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea bring its juvenile justice system into line with articles 37, 40 and 39 of the Convention, the Beijing Rules, the Riyadh Guidelines and the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, among others. In fact, the juvenile justice system of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea embodies the principle of preferential treatment of children in conflict with the law set out in the Convention and various international instruments, as it applies public education measures to all juvenile offenders irrespective of the gravity of their crime. The court hears a case, establishes liability and hands down a verdict on the offender. However, the aim is always to educate rather than punish the child. The reason is that the penal system of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea considers public education much more effective and appropriate than punishment, especially in remolding a juvenile offender. It is stipulated in article 11, paragraph 2, of the Criminal Law that “for offenders between the ages of 14 and 16, public education measures may be adopted. The same measures may be adopted at the stages of prosecution or trial even for those over the age of 17 if it is acknowledged that they may be rehabilitated by public education in consideration of their repentance, the gravity of the crime , etc.”, and in article 13, paragraph 1, of the Criminal Procedures Act that “In cases where there is solid ground for believing that the examinee or the accused can be reformed through social education, the measure of social education may be applied instead of punishment” (seepara. 56 above).

209.The judges, prosecutors, lawyers, law enforcement officials and people’s security officers are guided in their activities by the provisions of the Convention, the Beijing Rules, the Riyadh Guidelines and the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty. The justice professionals as well as other personnel working with children receive short training courses on these international instruments more than once a year.

2.Children deprived of their liberty, including any form of detention, imprisonment or placement in custodial settings

210.See paragraph 194 of the initial report.

211.In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, children cannot in principle be arrested, detained or imprisoned, even as a measure of last resort. If necessary, a child is confined in his or her house or a certain area after school under article 104 of the Criminal Procedures Act. The period of such confinement may not exceed one month.

212.No person may be arrested or confined without following the legal procedures. When a person is arrested for a valid reason, the law requires that the reason be communicated to his/her family and organization and to the public prosecutor within 48 hours. Any complaint against arrest or confinement may be lodged with the public prosecutor who examines it and releases the person when it is objectively proved that arrest or confinement is illegal. If the person arrested or confined is a child, the legal procedural requirements are more strict.

213.In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, those who have been convicted are reformed at an institution for reform through labour. Children may not be imprisoned as they are not tried even if they have committed a crime. Under article 168 of the Criminal Procedures Act children are subjected to public education measures in all cases before they are put on trial. There are various concrete methods of public education. It is undertaken by the youth league or the children’s union, by the school concerned or by the parents or guardians.

3.The sentencing of children, with particular reference to the prohibition of capital punishment and life imprisonment

214.On this question, see paragraph 195 of the initial report and paragraphs 56 and 117 of the present report. No punishment for a criminal offence was applied to a child during the reporting period, as public education measures are adopted in such cases. Nor was capital punishment imposed, for it is forbidden by the Criminal Law for offences committed by persons under 18 years of age. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea does not have life imprisonment and the maximum period of reform through labour is 15 years.

4.Physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of the child

215.See paragraphs 196 and 197. The issue of social reintegration does not arise in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as the imposition of public education measures does not involve any form of separation of the child from the community.

C. Children in situations of exploitation (arts. 32-36)

1.Economic exploitation of children, includingchild labour

216.Child labour has long been eradicated, both in law and in practice (seepara. 198 of the initial report). The minimum age for admission to employment has been mentioned in paragraph 53 of the present report.

2. Drug abuse

217.See paragraphs 199 and 200 of the initial report.

218.It has been reported that some schoolboys at grades 5 and 6 of senior middle schools smoke or drink alcohol. The schools and parents take educational measures against them (seepara. 62 of this report).

3. Sexual exploitation and sexual abuse

219.See paragraphs 201 and 202 of the initial report.

220.Prostitution and unlawful sexual practices, including pornography, are strictly prohibited by the Criminal Law.

4. Sale, trafficking and abduction

221.See paragraph 204 of the initial report.

5. Other forms of exploitation

222.See paragraph 203 of the initial report.

D.Children belonging to a minority or an indigenousgroup (art. 30)

223.See paragraph 205 of the initial report.

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