Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Joined United Nations: 17 September 1991
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 03 April 2013
Chapter 5 Fundamental Rights and Duties of Citizens
The terms for becoming a citizen of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are defined by the Law on Nationality.
A citizen is under the protection of the DPRK regardless of the domicile.
In the DPRK the rights and duties of citizens are based on the collectivist principle, “One for all and all for one.”
The State shall effectively guarantee genuine democratic rights and liberties as well as the material and cultural well-being of its citizens.
In the DPRK the rights and freedom of citizens shall be amplified with the consolidation and development of the social system.
Citizens enjoy equal rights in all spheres of State and public activities.
All citizens who have reached the age of 17 have the right to elect and to be elected, irrespective of sex, race, occupation, length of
residence, property status, education party affiliation, political views or religion.
Citizens serving in the armed forces also have the right to elect and to be elected. A person who has been disenfranchised by a Court
decision and a person legally certified insane do not have the right to elect or to be elected.
Citizens are guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, demonstration and association.
The State shall guarantee conditions for the free activity of democratic political parties and social organizations.
Citizens have freedom of religious beliefs. This right is granted by approving the construction of religious buildings and the holding of
No one may use religion as a pretext for drawing in foreign forces or for harming the State and social order.
Citizens are entitled to submit complaints and petitions.
Complaints and petitions shall be investigated and dealt with according to procedure and within the period fixed by law.
Citizens have the right to work.
All able-bodied citizens choose occupations in accordance with their wishes and skills and are provided with stable jobs and working
Citizens work according to their abilities and are paid in accordance with the quantity and quality of their work.
Citizens have the right to relaxation. This right is ensured by the establishment of the working hours, the provision of holidays, paid leave,
accommodation at health resorts and holiday homes at State expense and by a growing network of cultural facilities.
Citizens are entitled to free medical care, and all persons who are no longer able to work because of old age, illness or a physical disability,
the old and children who have no means of support are all entitled to material assistance. This right is ensured by free medical care, an
expanding network of hospitals, sanatoria and other medical institutions, State social insurance and other social security systems.
Citizens have the right to education. This right is ensured by an advanced educational system and by the educational measures enacted by
the State for the benefit of the people.
Citizens are free to engage in scientific, literary and artistic pursuits.
The State shall grant benefits to inventors and innovators.
Copyright and patent rights shall be protected by law.
The citizens shall have freedom to reside in and travel to any place.
Revolutionary fighters, the families of revolutionary and patriotic martyrs, the families of soldiers of the People’s Army and disabled enjoy
the special protection of the State and society.
Women are accorded an equal social status and rights with men.
The State shall afford special protection to mothers and children by providing maternity leave, reduced working hours for mothers with
many children, a wide network of maternity hospitals, creches and kindergartens, and other measures.
The State shall provide all conditions for women to play a full role in society.
Marriages and the family shall be protected by the State.
The State pays great attention to consolidating the family, the basic unit of social life.
Citizens are guaranteed inviolability of the person and the home and privacy of correspondence.
No citizens can be placed under control or be arrested nor can their homes be searched without a legal warrant.
The DPRK shall grant the right of asylum to foreign nationals persecuted for struggling or peace and democracy, national independence
and socialism for the freedom of scientific and cultural pursuit.
Citizens shall firmly safeguard the political and ideological unity and solidarity of the people.
Citizens must value organizations and collectives, and must demonstrate the spirit of devoting themselves to the work for the society and
Citizens shall strictly observe the laws of the State and the socialist standards of life and defend their honor and dignity as citizens of the
Work is noble duty and honor of a citizen.
Citizens shall willingly and conscientiously participate in work and strictly observe labor discipline and the working hours.
Citizens shall take good care of State and communal property, combat all forms of misappropriation and waste and manage the nation’s
economy diligently as the masters.
The property of the State and the social, cooperative organization is inviolable.
Citizens shall constantly increase their revolutionary vigilance and devotedly fight for the security of the State.
National defense is the supreme duty and honor of citizens.
Citizens shall defend the country and serve in the army as required by law.
On September 5, 1998, the Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was
amended in accordance with standards set forth by the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights as is required for admission consideration in the United Nations. It has been
amended many time, most recently 31 May 2012. The following is the extract of those
amendments specifically pertaining to human rights. For a full English translation of North
Korea's constitution, click here.