In The World According to Dennis Rodman, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whom he just saw on his second trip to the country, is quite likable.
As Human Rights Watch puts it, Kim’s succession as supreme leader after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in December 2011, “had little impact on the country’s dire human rights record.”
People are still subjected to torture and thrown into prison camps based on political charges. Those who have managed to escape describe horror that includes beatings, starvation and executions.
In 2012, “Defectors continued to report extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detention, arrests of political prisoners, and torture,” the U.S. State Department Human Rights Report says.
“The judiciary was not independent and did not provide fair trials. There continued to be reports of severe punishment of some repatriated refugees and their family members. There were reports of trafficked women among refugees and workers crossing the border into China. … The government made no known attempts to prosecute officials who committed human rights abuses.”
Meanwhile, much of the country starves. More than 25% of North Korean children under the age of 5 suffered from chronic malnutrition in 2012, according to the National Nutrition Survey of North Korea, a report backed by UNICEF, the World Food Program and the World Health Organization. The report also found nearly one in three women suffered from anemia.