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US Report: North Korea Among World's Most Repressive, Isolated States


The United States has listed North Korea as one of the world's most isolated and repressive states in its annual report on human rights released Tuesday.

The State Department report says the government in North Korea controls all aspects of citizens' lives, denying them freedom of speech, press, assembly and association.

It estimates that up to 200,000 people, including political prisoners, are in detention camps in North Korea, and that many die from torture, starvation, disease and exposure.

The report also criticizes the military-led government in Burma, accusing it of using executions, rape, torture, random detentions, and forced relocation of entire villages, particularly of ethnic minorities, to maintain its grip on power.

The U.S report also says that surveillance of political activists continues in Burma, and notes that 1,100 political prisoners remain behind bars there.

The annual rights report notes what it calls setbacks for democracy in Thailand and Fiji, where militaries have overthrown democratically elected governments.

The U.S report also notes concern about deadly clashes in East Timor, where fighting between the national defense force and dissident military, police and civilian forces led to widespread mob violence in the country's capital.

The report says the conflict in East Timor has displaced approximately 150,000 people, more than 15 percent of the country's population.

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