- Kim Jong Un has banned suicide, calling it an “act of betrayal against socialism”, according to Radio Free Asia.
- The number of suicides in North Korea is thought to be skyrocketing, he added.
- Kim ordered local authorities to take action to prevent people from committing suicide, according to the report.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un issued a secret order to local authorities banning suicides, after data showed the numbers were skyrocketing, according to government officials who spoke to Radio Free Asia.
The exact number of suicides in North Korea is difficult to determine because the regime rarely gives insight into the country’s shortcomings, but South Korea’s national intelligence service estimated in May that suicides had risen by around 40% over to the previous year, according to WION.
Kim called the suicide an “act of treason against socialism” in the directive, according to Radio Free Asia, saying local government officials would be held jointly responsible for failing to prevent people from committing suicide in their jurisdiction.
The secret order was mentioned during a series of emergency meetings in North Korean provinces, an official from the northeastern province of North Hamgyong told Radio Free Asia on condition of anonymity to protect their security.
Data was provided on the number of suicides, which included examples of entire families ending their lives, the official said, per Radio Free Asia.
“[The attendees] were shocked by the release of suicide notes that were critical of the country and the social system,” the official added.
In the neighboring province of Ryanggang, another official told Radio Free Asia that suicide had a greater impact on the community than starvation, while mentioning a similar meeting.
“Despite the Suicide Prevention Policy ratified by the Secretary-General, officials have not been able to find an appropriate solution,” said the official, who also concealed his identity to protect his safety, according to Radio Free Asia. .
“Most of the suicides were caused by extreme poverty and starvation, so no one can find a countermeasure at the moment,” they added, according to the news service.
During the meeting, there were discussions involving graphic descriptions of suicide cases, which included other examples of entire families taking their lives.
According to 2019 data from the World Health Organization, there were 8.2 suicides per 100,000 people in North Korea, placing the country 45th in the world for suicide rates.