Kim Jong-un issues suicide prevention order as rates in North Korea rise: report


North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un reportedly secretly ordered local authorities to prevent citizens from committing suicide.

The prevention order: Declaring the suicide an “act of treason against socialism”, Kim called emergency meetings across North Korea to order local authorities to take preventive measures against the act. His order was relayed to the heads of party committees in each of the country’s provinces. In the ruling, Kim reportedly said government officials would be held accountable if they failed to prevent the suicides.

An alarming trend: Kim placed the controls after May data estimated a 40% increase in suicides since 2022, the South Korean national intelligence service (NIS). “There are a lot of factors of internal unrest in North Korea due to people’s difficulties,” an NIS agent shared with Radio Libre Asia. These internal unrest factors include an increase in violent crime as North Korean citizens try to find ways to make ends meet.

In some cases of suicide, entire families would have ended their lives together. Others left suicide notes that criticized the country and its social system, an anonymous North Hamgyong official told RFA. According to an unnamed official, those present at the meeting in Ryanggang province were told that suicide had a greater social impact than starvation.

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“Family suicide is a final act of defiance against a hopeless system,” the official explained.

Local response: Although North Korean officials have tried to prevent suicides in their respective provinces and cities, the official revealed that little has changed.

“Despite the Suicide Prevention Policy endorsed by the Secretary General, officials have been unable to come up with an appropriate solution,” he shared. “Most of the suicides were caused by extreme poverty and starvation, so no one can come up with a countermeasure at the moment.”

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If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For a list of international suicide hotlines, click here.

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