The question of the North Korean passport is quite the contentious issue. This is a state that is notoriously secretive, and therefore even the most basic questions about its citizens’ rights becomes mired in global politics. This article will discuss whether North Koreans are officially allowed to carry a passport and the technicalities of North Korea’s global standing.
To begin with, the answer to the question of whether North Koreans hold passports is yes. However, their passports are not like the type of passports that most of us are familiar with. The passports that the North Korean citizens are issued are a “friendship passport” and contains permission to travel between state borders, but not beyond – eliminating the possibility of foreign travel.
Further, it is important to consider the political and legal implications of North Korean passports. For instance, it is the North Korean government that ultimately controls what is on the passport and whether the document is valid. This creates a power imbalance between North Korean citizens and other countries, as North Korea is not a signatory of the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which ensures and ensures the same protection and rights of citizens around the world.
Moreover, North Koreans are not allowed to travel to certain countries, including Japan, South Korea and the United States. This is due to a “Hostile Policy” which prevents North Koreans citizens from entering some states due to relations between their government and the global community. Furthermore, North Korea’s membership of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is uncertain due to their reliance on other states to provide passport requirements and ensure the safety of North Korean citizens during foreign travel.
Furthermore, North Korean passport holders are not recognized by many countries as legal citizens. There have been cases of North Korean citizens being denied entry or being deported for not having valid travel documents, despite residing in the country for long periods of time. This has led to North Koreans seeking alternative ways to gain citizenship and thereby the ability to travel. For example, North Koreans have resorted to using ‘dual nationality’, where they gain recognition by another country which requires them to renounce their North Korean passport.
Finally, although North Korean citizens are technically able to own passports, these are restricted due to a number of factors, including political reasons and the lack of international cooperation. Thus, whilst it may be true that North Koreans can obtain a Friendship Passport, these are limited in scope and not able to be used as a tool to explore the world.
Why Do North Koreans Possess a Passport?
The official purpose of North Korea’s “friendship passport” is to facilitate the movement of its citizens to authorized geographical locations that the Pyongyang government has allowed. This is a form of control, wherein the North Korean leadership is able to monitor its citizens’ movements and activities. This type of control also ensures that North Koreans are not able to leave the country without permission.
It is possible that North Koreans may look to obtain a passport for extra safety and protection when travelling abroad, especially in areas where there are potential threats to their safety. Having a passport can offer them some legal rights and protection against deportation and mistreatment when travelling in foreign countries. This means that North Koreans can move freely without the fear of being arrested or subjugated.
In addition, having a passport can enable North Korean citizens to access employment and education opportunities abroad, which they may not be able to do within the country itself. Such opportunities can help to bring people greater financial security and personal freedom, which would otherwise be limited inside North Korea.
Finally, holding a passport is also a demonstration of individual freedom – something that is otherwise curtailed in North Korea. By having a passport, North Koreans are able to assert their rights and leave the country in case of arrest or if they want to pursue a better life elsewhere.
What Other Documents Do North Koreans Possess?
In addition to a passport, North Koreans carry a variety of documents for their day-to-day activities. The most common documents are a valid national identification card, residence permit and a driver’s license.
The North Korean national identification card contains the individual’s name, date of birth and address. This document is essential for North Koreans in everyday life, enabling them to access public services and transport, purchase necessary items and use bank accounts.
The North Korean residence permit, also known as the Alien Registration Certificate, is a document which enables North Koreans to travel freely in their own country. This document is particularly important for those who wish to move out of the country’s capital, Pyongyang.
When travelling within North Korea, citizens must also carry a valid driver’s license. Without it, they will not be allowed to drive a car. Withholding a driver’s license has been used as a form of punishment by the North Korean government.
Are North Korean Passports Accepted By Other Countries?
Generally speaking, North Korean passports are not accepted by other countries, as observed by their absence from the list of countries who have valid visa waiver agreements with most countries. North Korean passports are regarded with suspicion in international travel, leading to much higher scrutiny of North Korean citizens at border crossings.
Nonetheless, there are some countries that accept North Korean passports, primarily nations which share strong relations with Pyongyang. This includes countries like Russia, China and Zimbabwe, where North Korean citizens may be able to gain entry via a visa waiver program. Such a program allows North Koreans to travel to those countries without a visa, though this comes with its own set of restrictions and potential issues.
Furthermore, it is possible for North Korean citizens to obtain a travel document called the “5-Point Passport” from the North Korean government. While this document is not as widely accepted as other passports, it does give North Koreans the chance to travel abroad in certain circumstances. Such circumstances include medical treatment and family reunions, though higher levels of security are usually applied.
What Are the Human Rights Implications of North Korean Passports?
The possession of a North Korean passport is heavily associated with an individual’s access to human rights. This is because it affects a person’s ability to move freely in and out of the country, thereby having a tangible impact on their freedom of movement. The lack of freedom of movement associated with a North Korean passport also precludes citizens from accessing key rights and services that others may take for granted.
Furthermore, the restrictions associated with a North Korean passport limit the opportunities and freedoms that its citizens are able to enjoy. This includes the right to employment, education and access to healthcare, all of which are heavily curtailed by the government’s tight control over its citizens.
In addition, North Korean citizens are deprived of their right to political expression. The Pyongyang government is known for its heavy handed tactics in suppressing any form of dissent. This is where having a North Korean passport illustratively demonstrates an individual’s acceptance of the North Korean system and its restrictive laws, thus inhibiting an individual’s rights to freedom of speech and participation in civil society.
Does North Korea Have a Passport System?
Yes, North Korea does have a passport system, but it is much more restrictive than those of other countries. The primary objective of the North Korean passport system is to facilitate the government’s control over its citizens by allowing it to track its citizens’ movements within and outside of the country. This means that the passports are heavily regulated and that there are a number of restrictions in place.
Moreover, the North Korean passport system is used as a form of control by the Pyongyang government, as well as a way to impose its own restrictions on citizens’ access to global opportunities. This includes the denial of travel to some countries and the inability to gain legal recognition as citizens from other countries. Furthermore, North Koreans are deprived of their human rights as a result of having a North Korean passport.
What are the Political Implications of North Korean Passports?
The possession of a North Korean passport is a politically charged issue. This is because the passport represents a symbolic embodiment of the oppressive North Korean government, and its use can be seen as a tacit acceptance of its restrictive laws and policies. This means that North Koreans living in foreign countries often face prejudice and hostility when travelling with North Korean passports, due to the lack of trust that other countries have towards the Pyongyang government.
Further, the government of North Korea is unable to make international agreements with other countries over passport matters, due to its status as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’. This has a range of implications, including an inability to recognize the passport system of other countries, thus limiting the scope of global opportunities that North Koreans are able to access.
Finally, the lack of international cooperation on the subject of the North Korean passport is problematic, as it creates a great divide between the citizens of North Korea and the rest of the world. This leaves many North Korean citizens at risk of exploitation and mistreatment, and unable to live a life of freedom and opportunity due to their legal status.