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Execution in North Korea

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If there were such thing as cruel and unusual punishment it would be the purge and execution of Jang Song Thaek. North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un who is also the nephew of Jang hailed the execution of his once powerful uncle. Kim Jong-un became North Korea’s leader 11 December 2011 after his father died. After changing his ascribed status to leader he began to display a more informal style in public appearances, although the official media quickly repressed any hopes that this might mean a relaxation in totalitarian controls. Since he assumed office North Korea has experienced many changes. North Korea is currently a society where respect for human rights doesn’t exist. Human rights cannot co-exist with dictatorship of the “Great Leader.” Only person in their society that has absolute human rights is Kim Jong-un. An individual’s providence and human rights doesn’t belong to the individual but to the “Great Leader.” No matter how much Kim Jong-un and his agents intrude on the people’s human rights, it is considered acts of righteous morality. In an innovative country, a president has to answer to the Congress for his deviance, but in North Korea no one can question the Kim Jong-un’s behavior or his agents’ violation of human rights. Kim’s agents have been exposed to a differential association.

Kim’s Uncle Jang played a key role in cementing the leadership of Kim who was an inexpert. Jang had also been handling the country’s mineral exports, which mainly was exported to China and was accused of selling coal and other mined assets too inexpensively. He was also accused of securing low commodity prices for Chinese businessmen. Jang was seen as the leading sponsor of Chinese-style economic reforms in his country and a significant link between Pyongyang and Beijing. Kim Jong-un saw his 67year old uncle as a threat to his authority over the military and, to his own family’s decreasing sources of revenue. The once-powerful Jang, who was seen as the real power behind the throne in North Korea, was intensely removed from his position as a Communist Party session by armed guards a month prior to his execution. After being arrested Jang was executed after a military tribunal found him guilty of trying to overthrow the state, party and leadership. He was accused of creating factions against the state, corruption and ‘depraved’ acts such as womanizing and drug and alcohol abuse.

Jang’s execution raised concerns over potential instability of North Korea. At Kim Jong-un’s order, the North Korean military came back with a larger force and prevailed. Kim’s forces were ordered to take back control over vital fishing grounds that Jang had previously seized, but Jang wouldn’t give it up without a fight. The battle ended in the death of many of Kim’s soldiers. Kim was furious and ordered that Jang’s top aides be executed in revenge. Jang and five of his aides were stripped naked and fed to 120 ravenous hounds that had been starved for three days. The whole course lasted an hour, and as they were eaten hundreds of officials watched. Mr. Jang’s two top lieutenants were executed by antiaircraft machine guns. Kim Jong-Un called for unity in a New Year message and addressed the execution of his once-powerful uncle as a resolute act to remove “factionalist scum”. Kim Jong-un announced on live television, “Our party’s timely, accurate decision to purge the anti-party, anti-revolutionary and factionalist elements helped greatly cement unity of the party and the revolution and strengthened our solidarity by 100 times. In the seething period of the effort for building a thriving country last year, we took the resolute measure of removing the factionalists lurking in the Party,” Kim said in a New Year’s address, referring to the North’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea. “As our Party detected and purged the anti-Party, counterrevolutionary factionalists at an opportune time and with a correct decision, the Party and revolutionary ranks were further consolidated and our single-hearted unity was solidified to the maximum,” Kim said, according to the text of the speech carried by North Korean state media. Kim’s tone was strong as he called for nationwide philosophical education and political awareness to eliminate “even the slightest phenomenon and element” undermining unity.

Kim Jong-un displayed the execution of his uncle in an extraordinarily public and brutal fashion. Kim’s actions would be considered a negative sanction in America. The North Korean government doesn’t assurance its people’s basic living conditions and is starving them as a society. Normally when human rights are the topic, we usually think of social and political freedoms such as the freedom of speech and freedom of political participation. But human rights refer to ‘the right to live as the common owner of one’s society.’ There is no human right more important than the right to life which doesn’t exist in North Korea. Above all a human should be guaranteed the basic conditions to feed, clothe, house and support thy self in order to survive. The most basic of human right would be the right to benefit oneself to the above conditions for basic survival. North Korea is a classless society that has done away with the remnants of feudalism and capitalism, it is clearly a class society starkly divided between the politically powerful and politically powerless, with an unequal dissemination of monetary and nonmonetary privileges. If Kim Jong-un even thinks his people have committed a white-collar crime, he has them executed. In all reality Kim Jong-un is humane in society’s views. Kim’s way of punishment is cruel, unusual, and shouldn’t be tolerated. This isn’t Kim’s first attempt of execution, there have been many others. Many reports indicate that the human rights violations started with Kim Jong-un’s father and continued once Kim assumed presidency. Such violations include ordering the killing of traitors, conducting public executions and sending people to political prison camps. These deaths send a message that North Korea that they better not cross their leader unless they want to be executed.

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