Report Embargoed until 12:01 am EDT, Wednesday, October 24, 2012
HRNK and DigitalGlobe Launch Report Based on Satellite Imagery of North Korea’s Political Prison Camp No. 22
The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C., in collaboration with DigitalGlobe (NYSE: DGI), a leading global provider of high-resolution earth imagery solutions, will launch a report entitled North Korea’s Camp No. 22. The report, embargoed until 12:01 am EST Wednesday, October 24, follows up on press reports that this camp, located in Hoeryong, North Hamgyong Province, was shut down in June.
The report is the first step in a collaborative effort by HRNK and DigitalGlobe to create a clear picture of the evolution and current state of North Korea’s political prison camps. DigitalGlobe will provide new imagery, acquired specifically for this project, and older imagery saved in its archives together with an analysis to HRNK, the NGO that put North Korea’s penal labor colonies on the map by publishing Hidden Gulag by David Hawk in 2003 and Hidden Gulag Second Edition in 2012. Together, the two organizations will closely monitor North Korea’s political prison camps so that any attempts to distort the harsh reality of the camps by destroying evidence will not go unnoticed.
Based on an analysis of DigitalGlobe images from November 5, 2010, May 21, 2011, and October 11, 2012, the HRNK-DigitalGlobe report North Korea’s Camp No. 22 concludes that the imagery does not support reports that Camp 22 was shut down or abandoned during 2012. Harvesting of crops continues as does coal production, making it not yet clear that the camp has closed and that North Korean authorities have been slowly transferring small sections of prisoners out of Camp 22 and replacing them with a regular workforce from other locations. The satellite imagery does show the razing of a building that defectors identify as an interrogation center, but the report finds that “the camp remains operational.” Consequently, HRNK and DigitalGlobe will continue to closely monitor developments at the camp and throughout North Korea’s political prison camp system.
“The North Korean regime’s hiding and distorting the harsh reality of North Korea’s unforgiving political prison camp system is no longer an option,” said Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director of the Committee. “With constant satellite imagery, we can maintain a watch over these camps even if no outside entry is allowed.”
More than 120 states in the United Nations General Assembly expressed “serious concern” in 2011 about “the existence of a large number of prison camps and the extensive use of forced labor” in North Korea. “If North Korea is trying to make a Potemkin Village out of Camp 22, the world should know,” added Mr. Scarlatoiu.
HRNK’s 2012 report Hidden Gulag Second Edition contains information about Camp 22 and all other known camps. It concludes with a “a blue-print” for disabling and dismantling the prison labor camp system. It recommends immediate access to the prison camps by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Food Program. It recommends the creation of an international commission of inquiry to investigate North Korea’s breaches of international human rights law and international criminal law, concluding that massive crimes against humanity are being perpetrated in North Korea. It calls on China to allow access by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to all North Koreans seeking refuge in China, and calls on the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan to integrate human rights concerns into any future normalization of political and economic relations with North Korea.
HRNK, established in 2001 by a distinguished group of foreign policy and human rights specialists, seeks to draw attention to human rights conditions in North Korea by publishing well-documented reports and papers, convening conferences, testifying at national and international fora, and seeking creative ways to end the isolation of the North Korean people.
The report North Korea’s Camp No. 22, embargoed until 12:01 am Wednesday, October 24, is available on HRNK’s website: www.hrnk.org
Contact: Greg Scarlatoiu, email@example.com; 202-499-7973
HRNK wishes to credit the role that DigitalGlobe experts are playing pro bono in this project, in particular Senior Analyst Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Imagery Analyst Amy Opperman, and Publishing Editor Katelyn Amen. HRNK also wishes to thank Curtis Melvin for the advice he provided to HRNK staff and interns, and acknowledges the contributions of David Zeglen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology—NUST) and HRNK Editorial Consultant Rosa Park.
As part of a joint undertaking with the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) to use satellite imagery to shed light on human suffering in North Korea AllSource Analysis (ASA) has been monitoring activity at political prison facilities in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, more commonly known as North Korea). This report covers activity observed during the past 12 months at the facility commonly known as Kwan-li-so&nbs
In Illicit: North Korea’s Evolving Operations to Earn Hard Currency, Sheena Chestnut Greitens provides a detailed and thoroughly researched account of the role of illicit activities in the North Korean economy. A central conclusion of Chestnut Greitens’ analysis is that in the context of eroding state control over the licit aspects of the economy, illicit activities are also being “privatized” by North Korea’s elite. As HRNK Co-chair and for
David Hawk interprets reports of changes in North Korea's political prison camps in his most recent report, North Korea's Hidden Gulag: Interpreting Reports of Changes in the Prison Camps. Please view the press release here.
The newest version of Coercion, Control, Surveillance, and Punishment: An Examination of the North Korea Police State by Ken Gause, updated on May 24, 2013.
For this report, DigitalGlobe Analytics examined eleven images collected from 2003 to 2013 of the North Korean political prison facility known as Camp 25 (a.k.a. Kwan-liso No. 25, Political Prison Facility No. 25, No. 25 Chongjin Political Concentration Camp, Susŏng Correctional Center) in Susŏng-dong, Ch’ŏngjin-si, Hamgyŏng-bukto, on the northeast coast of the nation. In this analysis, imagery was compared to identify changes in the organization of the camp, including variations in:
As a follow-up to the October 2012 joint HRNK- DigitalGlobe imagery analysis of North Korea’s Camp 22 (Kwan-li-so No. 22, Korean People’s Security Guard Unit 2209), DigitalGlobe’s Analysis Center was asked to assist in identifying reported activity in and around Camp 22 in Hamgyŏng-bukto. More specifically, the Analysis Center was to examine: The outer perimeter fence, guard towers and guard positions to determine if some, or all, have been razed. The
During late September 2012, the North Korean activist community began reporting that the notorious political penal labor facility Camp 22 had been closed in early 2012. On October 1, 2012, in response to these reports and in partnership with the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, DigitalGlobe’s Analysis Center initiated an imagery analysis of Camp 22.
The North Korean government assigns a “songbun” status to every citizen at birth based on the perceived political loyalty of his or her family going back generations. While a small, politically loyal class in North Korea is entitled to extensive privileges, the vast majority of citizens are relegated to a permanent lower status and then discriminated against for reasons they cannot control or change.
Based on extensive interviews with over 60 defectors and more than 40 satellite photos of North Korean political prisoner camps, the report calls for the dismantlement of the vast North Korean gulag system in which 150,000 to 200,000 are incarcerated.
TAKEN! provides an in-depth and comprehensive history and analysis of North Korea’s state-sponsored policy of abducting citizens of other countries. This criminal enterprise dates back to the earliest days of the regime, and to policy decisions made by Kim II-sung himself. Those abducted came from widely diverse backgrounds, numerous nationalities, both genders, and all ages, and were taken from placs as far away as London, Copenhagen, Zagreb, Beirut, Hong Kong, and China, in addition to Japan.
This report calls the world’s attention to the suffering of North Korean women who have become the victims of trafficking and forced marriages after escaping their country to seek a new life in China. Seventy-seven interviews with North Korean women living in China yield 52 personal accounts--life stories of women who leave their home country for survival and safety only to be purchased by Chinese men who abuse and exploit them in China. In spite of finding places to live, North Korean women ent
North Korea today is in a state of power transition that could lead to new dangers, instability, and uncertainty. This was not the case during the first succession. Kim Jong-Il had been carefully groomed by his father to succeed him. The process had gone on for twenty years and was directed by Kim Il-Sung himself. In North Korea, all political power derives from Kim Il-Sung’s reign. At the present, North Korea refers to itself as “Kim Il-Sung’s nati
This report is part of HRNK’s “Occasional Papers,” expressing a viewpoint not necessarily representative of the Committee or its Board of Directors. Rather, this paper is written from the viewpoint of a courageous man who has seen the North Korean system from within and has participated in the workings of that system. The author knows how outcomes are produced in North Korea and which individuals are critical to the political process. Kim Kwang-jin provides an overview of the North K
This report is a sequel to the previous report, “Failure to Protect: A Call for the UN Security Council to Act in North Korea” (2006), which called for the UN Security Council to take action. The report identifies concerns with respect to human rights in North Korea. While North Korea has opened up to some international aid, their food policy and inequitable social classification system (“Songbun”) prevents large segments of the population from ever receiving food provided by i
For over sixty years, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has engaged in the systematic, flagrant violation of nearly every human right recognized and protected by international law. This handbook describes the options available to human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) seeking to pursue international legal action against North Korea. The international legal system offers a variety of avenues for action, which NGOs can pursue. This report explores such legal avenues, linking NG
Czech Republic President Havel, Norwegian Prime Minister Bondevik, and Nobel Peace Prize Laurate and Boston University Professor Elie Wiesel commissioned the global law firm DLA Piper LLP to work with the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, because they believed that the security threat posed by North Korea has relegated the human rights concerns in the country to a second-class status. With the unanimous adoption by the UN Security Council of the doctrine that each state has a “resp
Concentration on the strategic problem in the national security context is clearly warranted, yet there is another, growing dimension to the North Korean problem that poses a grave challenge: the plight of ordinary North Koreans who are denied even the most basic human rights, and those who risk their lives to escape the world’s worst nightmare, the tyranny of the Kim Jong-il regime. In this report, six experts – Stephen Haggard, Marcus Noland, Yoonok Chang, Joshua Kurlantzick, Jana Mason,