The major conventions include the Genocide Convention, the Convention on Racial Discrimination, the Convention on Discrimination Against Women, the Convention Against Torture, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 16 The Genocide Convention was the first Post-World War II human rights agreement, a memorial to the Holocaust. 17 The Convention recognizes the right of group identity and the need to protect that right. All parties to it are obligated to try and punish genocide, as well as conspiracy, incitement or attempt to commit genocide.
18 The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination has been ratified by over 150 states. It establishes one focal point of human rights – equality and non-discrimination. The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women is similar to the Race Convention, but the effort to eliminate the discrimination against women is not as universally accepted. Customary Law of Human Rights has been defined as the "[g]eneral practice of states which is accepted and observed as law. "19 The Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States, i??
702 Customary International Law of Human Rights states: A state violates international law if, as a matter of state policy, it practices, encourages or condonesAfter World War II Korea was divided into two regions: a northern, communist half and a southern, Western-oriented half. This paper focuses on the country known as North Korea, or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). 21 It has an estimated population of 22 million people. The total area of North Korea is 120,540 sq km. 22 Three countries border North Korea, including China, South Korea and Russia. The capital is located in P'yongyang.
The North Korean government is authoritarian socialist. It is a one-man dictatorship under the leadership of the head of state is Kim Jong Il. 23 The head of government is Hung Song Nam. 24 There is very little detailed information known about the North Korean government and their legal system. "Run on an ideology of 'self-reliance' or Juche, hence independence from the rest of the world, North Korea's political system does not allow any opposition, imposes sharp restrictions on travel in and out of the country and has total control over the dissemination of information.
"25 Kim Jong Il has ruled North Korea since his father and the country's founder, president Kim Il Sung, died in 1994. Kim Jong Il, 60, was born in Khabarovsk, Russia in 1942. He received a political-economy degree in 1964 from Kim Il Sung University. Kim Jong Il lives a life of comfort and pleasure while his people are starving and malnourished if free, and the imprisoned people suffer this in addition to overworking and torture. The USA TODAY reports: As unquestioned leader, Kim has lived a life of comfort and excess as his people boiled grass for food.
More than 2 million North Koreans are believed to have died of famine from 1994 to 1997. Even now, 70% of the country's children are malnourished, says the Korean Welfare Foundation, a private aid group in Seoul. Kim is reported to be among the world's biggest consumers of Hennessy cognac. But he prefers Paekdu Mountain Eternal Youth rice liquor and can down half a bottle in one gulp. His regime reportedly spent $ 20 million on 200 Mercedes S-class sedans in 1998. That's equivalent to a fifth of the aid the U. N. had pledged to North Korea that year.
Kim is said to have stashed the earnings from a private gold mine in Swiss bank accounts and bought villas across Europe. 26 Wendy Sherman, former Clinton advisor for North Korea discussed the North Korean prison camps on CNBC's "The News with Brian Williams. " In this interview, Williams described Kim Jong Il as "a ruler who is incomplete control . . . He is intelligent, but at the same time he is insulated from the rest of the world. He cares about one thing, and that is the survival of his regime, and he will do whatever he thinks he needs to make that continue. "27
Economically, North Korea faces serious difficulty. The North relies heavily on international food aid to feed its population. Information from countries. com provides a general overview of the economic situation: North Korea, one of the world's most centrally planned and isolated economies, faces desperate economic conditions. Industrial capital stock is nearly beyond repair as a result of years of underinvestment and spare parts shortages. The nation faces its seventh year of food shortages because of weather-related problems, including major drought in 2000, and chronic shortages of fertilizer and fuel.
Massive international food aid deliveries have allowed the regime to escape the major consequence of spreading economic failure, such as mass starvation, but the population remains vulnerable to prolonged malnutrition and deteriorating living conditions. Large-scale military spending eats up resources needed for expanding investment and consumption goods.  In 2000, the regime placed emphasis on expanding foreign trade links, embracing modern technology, and attracting foreign investment, but in no way at the expense of relinquishing central control over key national assets or undergoing market-oriented reforms.
29 One source states that North Korea has isolated itself from the rest of the world since the end of the1950-53 Korean War, but began to open communications toward the end of 1999. Today however, with the threat of war and other issues such as nuclear powers, there does not seem to be much movement toward making diplomatic and open relations with other countries. "North Korea's long-range missile development and research into nuclear and chemical weapons are of major concern to the international community.
"30 North Korea does not participate with any human rights research within their borders. Amnesty International claims that North Korea has been continuously unresponsive to international calls for human rights dialogue. 31 Amnesty reports that "[i]n 1997, [North Korea] took the unprecedented decision to withdraw from the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, following international criticism of North Korea's failure to report to the UN on its implementation of the Covenant.
"32 In July 2001, Amnesty reported that the UN committee would be considering North Korea's second periodic report, submitted after 16 years (North Korea submitted its first report in 1984). Also in July, Amnesty and other human rights organizations briefed the committee on a number of issues regarding North Korea's use of the death penalty, forced labor, freedom of movement, unfair trials, political prisoners, torture and trafficking.
The main focus of countries looking in on North Korea is not regarding their human rights practices; rather most countries are concerned with North Korea's open production of weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, it is hard to get lawmakers and policy leaders to notice and take action regarding the human rights issues in North Korea, not to mention the difficulty of getting the North Korean regime to participate in any sort of human rights reform.