SEOUL, Oct. 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's human rights situation showed no improvement in the first half of this year, the British government said.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office also voiced deep concerns over Pyongyang's treatment of its people, labeling the North as one of 30 human rights priority countries, along with China, Iran and Iraq.
"Although there are modest signs of progress in some areas, notably disability rights and girls' education, deep concerns remain over the treatment of vulnerable groups, including prisoners, women and girls," the statement said.
The statement said the regime continues to exercise total control over freedom of expression and freedom of religion, pointing out that Pyongyang ranked 179th out of 180 in the World Press Freedom Index by Reporters without Borders.
"DPRK ... continues to reject UN resolutions on human rights issues and the role of the Special Rapporteur on DPRK Human Rights," the statement said, referring to the North by the abbreviation of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Britain said it will continue to address the challenges in human rights through diplomacy and other programs and to encourage governments to meet their international human rights obligations in the long term.
North Korea has long been labeled as one of the world's worst human rights violators. The regime does not tolerate dissent, holds hundreds of thousands of people in political prison camps and keeps tight control over outside information.