North Korea announced Tuesday it would grant an amnesty for prisoners to mark the upcoming birth anniversaries of its late leaders.
The official news agency said a parliamentary decree had authorised the amnesty from February 1, embodying the "noble, benevolent and all-embracing politics of President Kim Il-Sung and leader Kim Jong-Il".
It said the amnesty would apply to "convicts" but did not elaborate on who would benefit or give numbers.
International rights groups say more than 200,000 men, women and children are held in prisons and labour camps, mostly for political and not criminal reasons.
The 70th anniversary of the birth of Kim Jong-Il, who died on December 17 after nominating his son Jong-Un as successor, is on February 16.
The 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim's father and founding president Kim Il-Sung falls on April 15.
"The cabinet and relevant organs will take working measures for those to be released thanks to the amnesty to work and live under stable conditions," the report said.