May 29, 2021 – 23:47
The North Korean state media has claimed that orphaned children have volunteered to work on state farms and mines.
The state news agency KCNA has said that hundreds of children “consciously and courageously, at the height of their youth”, have decided to work for the state.
Their ages have not been disclosed but the photo shows that they are teenagers.
Human rights groups have long accused North Korea of forcing children to work, something state officials have denied.
In February this year, the BBC reported on allegations that several generations of South Korean prisoners of war were being held as slave laborers in North Korea’s coal mines in order for the regime to secure money for its weapons program.
An estimated 26 million people are believed to live in North Korea, a country ruled by a government with tight control over people’s lives.
In April, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned his country to prepare for difficult times.
North Korea closed its borders in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, thus stopping trade with China – its economic salvation./REL