Greater Attention and Pessimism over North Korean Human Rights: Data

More focus, but less hope.

Greater Attention and Pessimism over North Korean Human Rights: Data

Image: South Korean public's attention on North Korean human rights.  Credit: NKDB.

The South Korean public is more focused on North Korean human rights than ever. According to the latest annual survey by the Database for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB) 북한인권정보센터, a civic organization based in Seoul, the proportion of South Koreans who say they are usually interested in North Korean human rights jumped from 52.5% in 2021 to 66.5%, the highest level since the survey began in 2014.

South Koreans are more pessimistic about the progress of North Korean human rights, however. At the peak in 2018, 38.3% said North Korean human rights were improving; this year, only 9.4% agreed. In 2018, only 30.4% said there was no possibility of North Korean human rights improving; in 2022, 76.4% thought so.

South Koreans’ preferred policy approach on North Korean human rights is similarly paradoxical: 71.4% said raising the human rights issue would negatively impact inter-Korean relations, but more than half of those said the South Korean government must continue to raise the North Korean human rights issue nevertheless. 56.4% of respondents disapproved of the controversial campaign to launch balloons into North Korea.

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