Korea, Democratic People's Republic of

Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 26 December 2016


As in previous years, it is not known if new mine or explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties occurred in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) in 2015.

Since 1999, the Monitor recorded one mine incident in December 2002: a North Korean soldier involved in construction work in the demilitarized zone lost a foot in a landmine explosion.[1] It is likely that other incidents went unreported.

Victim Assistance

North Korea has no victim assistance coordination. The Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled coordinates disability issues, including advising on state policies relating to disability, developing regulations for special education and vocational training, and managing physical rehabilitation centers.[2]

The ICRC’s Beijing office provided prostheses for five mine/ERW survivors from China and North Korea in 2015. It was not reported how many beneficiaries there were from each country.[3] In 2015, the ICRC continued to provide materials and training to the Rakrang Physical Rehabilitation Center in Pyongyang. The center carried out 102 amputations and stump revision procedures for military and civilian amputees in 2015, but did not report if any of the amputees were mine/ERW survivors.[4] It also worked with the Ministry of Health to improve orthopedic surgery, physiotherapy and other services in four hospitals. In mid-2015, support for the provincial hospital in Sariwon was discontinued, while support for the other three hospitals continued. At the end of the year, talks about supporting a second rehabilitation center were underway.[5] Handicap International (HI) also continued efforts to improve physical rehabilitation services by improving facilities, providing supplies, and training staff at several hospitals and rehabilitation centers. In 2015, HI provided support to the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled.[6]

The law mandates equal access for persons with disabilities to public services. However, implementing regulations for the law had not been passed and persons with disabilities still face discrimination and lack of care due to a limited number of facilities and trained doctors. Persons with disabilities experienced discrimination in many aspects of life.[7]

North Korea signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 3 July 2013.

[1] ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2004: Toward a Mine-Free World (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2004).

[2] ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programme (PRP), “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, May 2014; and United States (US) Department of State, “2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” Washington, DC, 13 April 2016.

[3] ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 2016, p. 380.

[4] Ibid., p. 379.

[5] ICRC, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2016, p. 379.

[6] HI, “Corée du Nord,” undated.

[7] US Department of State, “2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” Washington, DC, 13 April 2016.