North Korean defectors recently testified before U.S. Congress that North Korea's government deprives its people of almost all political and civil liberties.
Choi Zoo Hwal is a former North Korean military colonel who defected to South Korea in 1995. He told U.S. lawmakers that few North Koreans dare to oppose the government because they view it as a divine authority. "There is no freedom to choose jobs, a place to live in or the freedom of religion whatsoever in North Korea," he said. "North Korean residents have to live under horrendous control."
Another North Korean defector, Kim Seung-min said the United States could improve the situation by supporting a radio station like his (Free North Korea Radio), that informs North Koreans about conditions in and outside the country. Despite attempts from North Korea to jam signals from his station, he remains firm that North Koreans should have access to freedom of thought, or "mental food" as he calls it.
The North Korean defectors also urged the U.S. to back a South Korean group that sends leaflets into the North by balloon calling for the ouster of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il. South Korea's government has appealed to the activists to stop, saying the leaflets have inflamed relations with Pyongyang.