Feb. 1 (UPI) -- North Korea received a "worst of the worst" rating for its lack of political rights and civil liberties from a U.S.-based think tank in Washington, D.C.
North Korea remained in a group of 11 countries where authoritarianism and reported atrocities go hand in hand.
Other countries in the subset include Syria, Eritrea, Uzbekistan, South Sudan, Turkmenistan, Somalia, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic and Saudi Arabia.
North Korea received an aggregate score of 3 for civil liberties and political rights, out of a possible 100, tied with Eritrea and Uzbekistan for the second-lowest position.
Only Syria at minus 1 ranked lower than the Kim regime.
According to the report, Syria is the world's least free country, where people behind the front lines are living under a dictatorship, extremists and "Kurdish militants."
"Many others are trapped in the middle of appalling violence," the report states.
North Korea has been consistently ranked "worst of the worst" on the Freedom House index since 1973, when the report was first published.
South Korea by contrast scored 82 points, out of a possible 100, and is categorically a "free country," according to the report.
Peaceful protests that culminated in the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye were also given positive marks in the analysis, Yonhap reported.
North Korea continues to persecute citizens for religious and other beliefs, and political suppression enables the country to pursue its widely condemned nuclear weapons program.
The international community has responded with sanctions, and each U.N. member state is complying in some way with the embargoes.
Radio Free Asia reported on Tuesday that Switzerland has cut exports of luxury watches to Pyongyang by more than 80 percent.
Luxury commodities are favored by the North Korea elite, and are often used to reward loyal members of the regime.