A report on the status of the CRC in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.

North Korea acceded to the CRC on 21 September 1990 without any reservations. Ratified international instruments automatically have the force of law in the country. Under the Law on Complaints and Petitions, children or their representatives can file complaints through a network of complaints mechanisms that includes all government bodies from the centre to local areas. It is unclear what the procedural requirements are for children to lodge a complaint against their arrest or confinement with the public prosecutor. In lodging complaints before a court, a child does not necessarily need to be represented by their parents or guardian, but should be capable of forming their own views. There are, however, many obstacles to access to justice. While the Constitution states that “the accused is guaranteed the right of defence”, it is reported that lawyers represent the interests of the State rather than the client, and are expected to assist the court by persuading their clients to confess guilt. The right to complain and challenge State actions is frequently not respected in practice. It is reported that when anonymous complaints about the public administration were submitted, authorities sought to identify the authors, who could be subjected to investigation and punishment.

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