February 22, 2024

Papers, please: North Korea’s identification cards

From birth certificates to migration control, official documents are a tool of control

Most countries have identity cards for their citizens. While some people see them as an instrument of state control, most aren't too concerned. Like a knife may be used to cut bread or to murder, ID cards can be used to make people’s lives easier, or to monitor and control them.

In the case of North Korea, it is mostly the latter. All citizens have to bear IDs issued by the police – or for those who reside abroad, by a consulate.