North Korea officially describes itself as a self-reliant socialist state and formally holds elections. Critics regard it as a totalitarian dictatorship. Various outlets have called it Stalinist, particularly noting the elaborate cult of personality around Kim Il-sung and his family. Every television airing pro regime propaganda, the youth brainwashed from a very young age to worship government and support its decisions, every industry state owned, every commodity state subsidized.
International organizations have assessed human rights violations in North Korea as belonging to a category of their own, with no parallel in the contemporary world. The only photos allowed to leave North Korea are those deemed acceptable by the ruling elite, and photos that capture famine, soldiers relaxing, poverty, sickness, or damaged infrastructure, are strictly forbidden. We have managed to get our hands on several images that have been taken from North Korea, despite having broken their rules to do so. Click NEXT to continue.