North Korean Orphans Have ‘Volunteered’ To Work In Coal Mines, State Media Reports
Hundreds of orphans, conscripted soldiers and students in North Korea have reportedly ‘volunteered’ to work in coal mines, according to state media.
As per reports from state news agency KCNA, many graduates of orphan schools have ‘volunteered to work in difficult fields’, including in coal mines, farms and construction.
The ages of the orphans have not been specified. However, according to these reports, they had graduated from middle schools, with photographs showing individuals who appeared to be teenagers.
More than 700 orphans had reportedly volunteered to work in various areas, including on cooperative farms, at an iron and steel complex, and in the forestry industry.
An approximate 150 orphan school graduates from three separate institutions had volunteered to work at farms and coal mines.
As per NBC News:
(The graduates of orphan schools) volunteered to work in major worksites for socialist construction out of their will to glorify their youth in the struggle for the prosperity of the country. They finished their school courses under the warm care of the mother Party.
North Korea has taken dramatic measures to keep coronavirus contained, and this has exacerbated human rights abuses as well as economic difficulties. The United Nations has expressed concern over reports of starvation in the Hermit Kingdom.
A 2020 US State Department report on human rights abuses found instances where children as young as 16 and 17 were enlisted in military-style construction brigades for decade-long periods, during which they had to work long hours and partake in dangerous work.
These young volunteers have been praised for their ‘wisdom and courage’ as well as their self-sacrifice; attributes that make them role models in the eyes of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
This development comes amid a crackdown by Kim Jong-Un on any forms of dissent by North Korea’s young people, with media such as K-pop, overseas news and drama described as ‘dangerous poisons’.
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