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Staff & Interns
Nicholas Welch
Nicholas Welch Research Intern Summer 2022
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Nicholas Welch is a master’s student in East Asian Studies at Stanford University. He earned his bachelor of arts from Stanford, writing his senior capstone essay about the 2020 Hong Kong national security law. During his undergraduate career, he lived in Taiwan — studying Mandarin at National Taiwan University’s International Chinese Language Program — and in Hong Kong, as an exchange student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has worked as an editor of several publications, including DigiChina and The Stanford Daily, where he was the head copy editor. His research interests also include PRC-US-Taiwan relations, and he is a research assistant for Professor Oriana Skylar Mastro. Before starting at Stanford, he served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Toronto, Canada.

Yuhan Kim
Yuhan Kim Research Intern Summer 2022
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Yuhan Kim is a rising junior at Yale University pursuing a double major in History and Political Science. At Yale he has taken multiple courses related to North Korean and East Asian history, including "North Korea and Religion", a class which focused on North Korean society, people, and culture, with a strong focus on reading memoirs by North Korean defectors, and "Korea and the Japanese Empire", which looked at the complex relationship between Korea and Japan and the historical background of the division of the Korean Peninsula. Yuhan's interest in history and international relations and his Korean background led to his interest in North Korea. At HRNK, Yuhan hopes to better understand North Korean diplomacy and North Korea's relationship with the world, the regime's tools of maintaining control, and the complexities of reunification. Yuhan is also the author of To Conquer and to Keep: Suchet and the War for Eastern Spain 1809-1814, a history book about the Napoleonic Wars in Spain, which is due to be published in Fall of 2022. In his free time Yuhan enjoys taking walks, playing board games, and performing magic.

Valerie Xu
Valerie Xu Research Intern Summer 2022
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Valerie Xu is a rising second-year graduate student at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) pursuing a Master’s degree in International Relations with a concentration in States, Markets, and Institutions in Asia. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2021, with a double major in International Studies and East Asian Studies, both with honors, as well as a minor in Psychology. She became interested in the Korean Peninsula after taking courses such as “History and Culture of North Korea,” “Korea in the World,” “Korean War,” and “North Korea, Identity, and International Politics.” Through her undergraduate senior honor thesis, “Finding Space for Xingshaoshu (LGB) College Students in China,” she gained a deeper understanding of how advocacy and activism could be strategically conducted in a hostile environment under an authoritarian regime. Her research project was recognized as the co-winner of the 2021 Robert Tucker Prize for Best Thesis in International Studies. As a research intern at HRNK, she hopes to further her knowledge of the Korean Peninsula and broaden her perspectives on human rights issues. She aims to pursue a dual degree program in South Korea and aspires to apply her skills and experience in the fields of diplomacy and public affairs.

Leon Cao
Leon Cao Research Intern Spring 2022
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Leon Cao is a rising senior at American University, majoring in International Relations and Asian Studies. His coursework has thus far included topics such as North Korea’s economic and political history, the role of gender and women in North Korea, and security issues related to the Korean Peninsula. It was through these studies, as well as previous internship positions at the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training and World Affairs Council, that he developed an interest in North Korea and the internal workings of the regime. As an intern at HRNK, Leon hopes to learn more about human rights as it relates to regime survival in North Korea and how the North Korean people have managed to cope with increasing socioeconomic pressures.

Han Sung Lim
Han Sung Lim Research Intern Spring 2022
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Han Sung (Joseph) Lim is a rising senior at Tufts University, majoring in International Relations and Film and Media Studies. For classes at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, he has authored papers on North Korean prison archipelago architecture, George Orwell’s 1984 and the Kim regime, Kim Jong-un’s psychological profile, North Korean hostage diplomacy, and the influence of Kim family mythology on North Korean statecraft. A blogger and YouTuber, he aspires to author a book on preparing for a post-Kim regime East Asian order and reimagining reunification. 

Amanda Leckner
Amanda Leckner Research Intern Spring 2022
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Amanda Leckner is a Junior at Virginia Tech, majoring in National Security and Foreign Affairs. 

She became interested in North Korea’s state of affairs and human rights issues in junior year of high school. In her sophomore year of college she decided to pursue research related to propaganda and surveillance in North Korea as her research topic for her department's research and writing course. From there, she knew that she wanted to continue to conduct research on the regime and work in North Korea-South Korea relations in her future career. 

At Virginia Tech, Amanda is an undergraduate research assistant under Dr. Ashley Shew on NSF CAREER Award on “Disability, Experience, and Technological Imagination” (#1750260). Further, she is an active member of Mozaiko, an intercultural living-learning community, in which she has served as the Vice President of Mentorship for the 2021-2022 academic year and will continue to serve in that role for the 2022-2023 cohort. In the Living-Learning community, she practices global competency and cross-cultural immersion.

After completing her undergraduate program she hopes to pursue a Juris Doctorate, to work in areas of international relations and human rights law. 

Natalie Horton
Natalie Horton Research Intern Spring 2022
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Natalie Horton is a rising senior at the George Washington University pursuing two bachelor's degrees, one in Asian Studies and the other in Korean Language and Literature, along with a minor in Chinese Language and Literature. In 2021 she spent six months studying Korean at Seoul National University through a Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship.

When she returned to the United States, she became an Undergraduate Research Fellow at the GW Institute for Korean Studies, and also won the GW-IU Korean Literature Essay Contest. Most recently, she has become interested in the effects of climate change on North Korea, both domestically and in terms of its foreign relations. At HRNK, Natalie hopes to gain a deeper understanding of North Korea as a whole, as well as advocate for human rights in the North Korean context.

Sumin Ahn
Sumin Ahn Research Intern Spring 2022
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Sumin Ahn completed her undergraduate degree in Global Affairs studies at George Mason University. During her studies and while working with professors on campus, she became passionate about understanding and addressing global issues. Her interest in HRNK began when she took conflict resolution classes at George Mason University Korea, which covered inter-Korean issues and conflicts in other regions of the world. She wrote several essays and participated in debates for her minor classes about North Korea, through which she developed an interest in North Korea issues. She is also attending a master’s program in Conflict Analysis, with the goal of using her knowledge and experiences to contribute to conflict resolution and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Julia Campbell
Julia Campbell Research Intern Spring 2022
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Julia Campbell is a Junior at Indiana University Bloomington's (IUB) Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, majoring in East Asian Languages and Cultures with a concentration in Korean. She started teaching herself Korean in her Junior year of high school and discovered her passion for learning the language. She has been studying Korean for almost three years, and she is planning to attend Yonsei University next Spring through IUB's exchange program.

Julia is extensively involved in IUB's branch of Liberty in North Korea as the Education Chair. In this capacity, she monitors current news about North Korea, presents on current affairs, and works with the Club President to determine meeting content, topics, and activities. She has learned about the many human rights violations North Korean citizens face and wants to be more involved in advocating for the rights of North Koreans. By interning for HRNK, she hopes to apply her passion for North Korean human rights in an impactful way.

Julia is also an advocate for neurodiversity in the workplace and for women with Autism. Because she was diagnosed with Autism extremely late in her life, she has partaken in multiple studies on campus in the hopes of helping to close the disparity between data availability for women versus men with Autism. She hopes that by being transparent about her diagnosis, she can be a role model for other women and show the world that being neurodiverse is an asset, not an obstacle.

After completing her undergraduate degree, Julia intends to pursue a Masters in Korean Studies at a Korean university. Once she has completed her education, she aspires to have a long-term career as an intelligence analyst.

Taehee Lee
Taehee Lee Research Intern Spring 2022
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Taehee Lee is a first-year graduate student in Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) at the Fletcher School, studying Conflict Resolution and International Security with a focus on North Korean issues. She previously studied Arabic and International Studies at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) in South Korea. After graduation, she worked at a NGO in Cambodia, the Korean National Commission for UNESCO (KNCU), and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) as a development practitioner, dealing with a diverse scope of development projects, including education, health, and gender issues in developing countries. In 2021, Ms. Lee was nominated as South Korea’s Youth Representative for the 12th UNESCO Youth Forum. Her experience tutoring North Korean adolescent defectors at the Settlement Support Center for North Korean Refugees (Hanawon) for two years has deepened her interest in human rights and development issues in North Korea, which led to her intense passion for working at HRNK.

Charlotte Canada
Charlotte Canada Research Intern Spring 2022
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Charlotte Canada is a rising senior at Arizona State University (ASU), pursuing majors in political science and journalism & mass communication. She became interested in North Korea when she began her study of the Korean language in March 2020. She is especially interested in researching women’s rights in North Korea, which has led her to write several papers about the plight of North Korean women as an undergraduate student.

As a student journalist, Charlotte has focused on reporting about small businesses, the economy, and arts and entertainment. She recently collaborated with a South Korean journalist to write an article about how K-pop fans are building their own communities, and how those communities are perceived by Americans and South Koreans who are not K-pop fans.

She plans to attend law school after graduating from ASU and is interested in studying criminal or international law.

Brennan Curtis
Brennan Curtis Research Intern Spring 2022
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Brennan Curtis is a graduate student at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto, Canada. He is an avid reader of world history and has long been interested in the complex geopolitics of the post-Cold War era. His previous degree in media studies led him to work on audio post-production for film and television, where he had the opportunity to mix documentaries that examined policy and controversy in different parts of the world. With subsequent experience working for the Canadian federal government, he has since been driven to translate his passion for international affairs into meaningful work which can draw attention to where it is most needed. Given the twin imperatives of regime accountability and advancing human rights in North Korea, he is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the work of HRNK in this respect. His goal is to develop a deep understanding of applied human rights work and research within the context of significant political and security challenges.

Courtney Welch
Courtney Welch Research Intern Spring 2022
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Courtney Welch is a Senior at Brigham Young University double majoring in Political Science and Korean. In her undergrad research, she analyzed U.S. foreign policy towards North Korea, suggesting new policy implementations and the trend in South Korean support for reunification. Courtney served an eighteen-month service mission, where she grew interested in Korean history and the complicated relationship between North and South Korea. In 2021, Courtney attended Kyung Hee University for a semester, where she participated in Liberty in North Korea as an English tutor to North Korean refugees attending university. Through interacting with North Korean refugees and hearing their stories, Courtney became interested in the human rights violations taking place in North Korea and began to look for ways to help North Korean refugees by sharing their stories of abuse. Through interning at HRNK, she hopes to learn more about the efforts being made to help North Koreans to know what future efforts can be made to help.

Bryan Clark
Bryan Clark Research Intern Spring 2022
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Bryan Clark is a second-year graduate student at the European School of Political and Social Sciences (ESPOL) at Lille Catholic University in Lille, France, pursuing a Master’s in International and Security Politics. He previously earned a Bachelor’s degree in Government – International Relations at California State University, Sacramento.

He first became interested in Korean Peninsula issues during his undergraduate program, where he studied about the governments of South and North Korea. He worked for two years as an English teacher in South Korea. From this experience, he developed a deeper interest in Korean Peninsula issues. He is interested in security, refugee, and human rights issues, particularly in relation to North Korea.

His goal is to work in human rights and diplomacy. He looks forward to being able to further improve his knowledge of human rights and refugee issues regarding North Korea. He is excited about being able to participate in HRNK’s efforts to bring further attention to the human rights violations committed by the North Korean government.

Yubin Jun
Yubin Jun Research Intern Spring 2022
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Yubin Jun is a senior at Sungkyunkwan University, pursuing BA in Political Science and Law. She is interested in the unique North Korean system and its implications for inter-Korean relations. She worked as a senior researcher at the undergraduate student
research group of Sungkyunkwan University, where she researched “Quad-Plus: Prospects and Implications to North Korea Nuclear Power.” During this research, she was deeply impressed by the influence of the U.S., which could leverage North Korea’s actions. She was appointed as president of the Global Student Network Help and Information Club of her school. In this role, she interacted with international students from various nations who have an interest in inter-Korea relations.

As part of her effort to understand inter-Korea relations, she also served as a student journalist at the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Korea. She interviewed prosecutor So-young Jang, who specializes in North Korean Law and crimes in the Kaesong Industrial Complex. She also served as a student reporter for the Ministry of Unification, where she wrote articles regarding the Unified Korean sports team at the 2018 Pyeong-Chang Olympics.

Her goal is to be a lawyer specializing in North Korean law and international relations who can advise private firms and governmental institutions that may invest in the exclusive industrial zone between South and North Korea. She hopes that working at HRNK will better equip her with different perspectives and provide a broader spectrum of knowledge of the situation between South and North Korea.

Jungeun Park
Jungeun Park Research Intern Spring 2022
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Jungeun Park is a senior at Yonsei University, double majoring in Sociology and Political Science.

From the experience of Peace Public Diplomacy Corporation in the Korea Democracy Foundation, she has developed her interest in a human rights issue in North Korea. In the program, she organized a menstruation fair for North Korean women and heard about the situation of women’s health in North Korea with cooperation with and sponsored by Dalchaebi, a startup company for menstruation platforms. From this experience, she wrote a report named “Marriage and Life of North Korean Women Defectors through immigration from North Korea and China to South Korea” with three fellow students in the class including an in-depth interview of North Korean defector women working as a unification education speaker.  Also, she participated in Korean Global Forum for Peace and DMZ Forum held by the Ministry of Unification in South Korea as a rapporteur and learned human rights situation in North Korea and how to harmonize between South and North Korean citizens.

From these experiences, she wanted to become a diplomat in South Korea specializing in North Korean diplomacy. She hopes to contribute to peace on the Korean Peninsula by contemplating ways to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and improvement of the human rights situation in North Korea.

After finishing two quarters exchange program at UCLA, she wanted to elaborate her knowledge about North Korean human rights issues from the perspective of the United States and started her internship in HRNK. She expects to learn from human rights issues in North Korea to inter-Korea relationships and diplomacy for denuclearization in North Korea through the internship.

Juntae B. Rocker
Juntae B. Rocker Research Intern Spring 2022
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Juntae Rocker is a junior Honors student at the Pennsylvania State University, double majoring in Asian Studies and Korean with a minor in Digital Media Trends and Analytics. Through his participation as an American ambassador for the 13th and 14th Korea-America Student Conferences - an academic, professional, and cultural conference that promotes mutual understanding between future US and ROK student leaders through intercultural and professional exchange - he's had the privilege of connecting with North Korea aid workers, human rights activists, family reunification advocates, foreign policy diplomats, and more.

It was through these conferences and the networks he's made that he developed a passion for the North Korean humanitarian crisis and security dilemma. After serving as an American ambassador for a SK-NK-US trilateral youth workshop sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and tutoring North Korean defectors through Aurora NK, Juntae's interest in North Korean human rights eventually led him to intern with HRNK. He's confident that HRNK will provide him invaluable learning, research, and hands-on opportunities that'll expand his background on US-Korea affairs. More specifically, he hopes to gain more nuanced insights into issues like reunification, denuclearization, peacebuilding, and geopolitical stability on the Korean peninsula.

Juntae hopes to attend graduate school in South Korea for inter-Korean affairs through a full-ride masters scholarship program (GKS) and pursue a long-term career in US-Korea security and diplomacy.

Jack Boone
Jack Boone Research Intern Winter 2021
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Jack Boone is a first-year student at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies pursuing a master’s degree in International Relations with a concentration in China Studies and International Political Economy. Through scholarly experiences in London, Beijing, and Washington, D.C., he became fascinated with the role China plays in the international system, including in regard to its bilateral relationship with North Korea. He hopes that his work at HRNK will not only strengthen his knowledge of human rights advocacy, but also allow him to gain a more direct and human understanding of relevant international political and economic systems.

Nikita Morrison-Young
Nikita Morrison-Young Research Intern Fall 2021
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Nikita Morrison-Young has recently completed her LLB Honours Degree with the University of the Free State, South Africa. Currently, she is enrolled in a Practical Legal Training Course and thereafter will begin her journey as a Candidate Attorney whilst pursuing her Masters to specialize in either Conveyancing or Environmental Law.

Nikita is a social and humanitarian activist. A person with a thriving passion for humanitarian law and combating modern day slavery and crimes such as human trafficking, sexual offences and abuse against women, children and men. In the past few years she has realized that her passion for human rights advocacy is her natural calling. Nikita aims to advocate for the rights of those that are marginalized and vulnerable in our communities.

Since her involvement with the UCEC organization and after being exposed to the atrocities that UCEC fights against, she has been passionate about improving human rights for the most vulnerable people. Violence and abuse towards women, poverty, police brutality, lack of education and an overall absence of human rights are abundant all over the world, especially in North Korea as it still remains as one of the most repressive countries in the world. This is what drew Nikita to HRNK. She stated, "I knew that I had to pursue the opportunity to be a part of an organisation that dedicates itself to combating gender based violence and mass human rights violations through research, investigation and education." 

Her goal is to use public law, human rights and social development as a way of spreading awareness through development and education. Our hopes for a more just, safe, and peaceful world can only be achieved when there is universal respect for the inherent dignity and equal rights of all members of the human family.

Jiwoo Hwang
Jiwoo Hwang Research Intern Summer 2021
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Jiwoo Hwang is a rising sophomore in Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. She was born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to different countries, including due to her father’s job as a diplomat. After meeting a teenage defector at a seminar hosted by her family friends, her interest in North Korea grew. As an intern of HRNK, Jiwoo hopes that she can learn more about the current situation in North Korea and more about the detailed history of the Kim’s reign. She also looks forward to reaching out to the ones suffering in North Korea.

Diletta De Luca
Diletta De Luca Research Intern Summer 2021
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Diletta De Luca is a graduate student at the University of Amsterdam. After a Bachelor of Sciences in Politics, Psychology, Law, and Economics, she is now studying international relations focusing on East Asia. Her passion for research and human rights made her discover HRNK years ago, and now she is very excited to be part of the team. As an intern, she hopes not only to research and advocate for human rights issues in North Korea, but to also expand the outreach of HRNK at the European level as well. In the future, Diletta dreams to continue to research authoritarian governments for the promotion of democracy and freedoms.

Claire McCrea
Claire McCrea Research Intern Summer 2021
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Claire McCrea is first-year student at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies pursuing a master’s degree in International Relations with a concentration in Korea studies and human rights. She studied Korean at Ewha Womans University in 2017 through a National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) fellowship and again in 2019 through a Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship. While an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University, she conducted research on the role played by U.S. foreign policymakers in combating human rights abuses in North Korea as well as on the culture and politics of Chongryon (or the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan). As a research intern at HRNK, Claire hopes to play a direct role in promoting human rights in North Korea and begin her career in human rights advocacy.

Scott Cho
Scott Cho Research Intern Summer 2021
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Scott Cho is a junior at Georgetown University, pursuing a major in Science Technology and International Affairs as well as the pre-med track. As a Korean-American living his whole life in the United States, he has always been intrigued by U.S.-North Korea tensions. His active involvement in Georgetown University's THiNK (Truth and Human Rights in North Korea) club and a particular event that hosted North Korean defector Oh Chong-song led him to his internship at HRNK. As he pursues the pre-med track, Scott hopes to one day provide medical assistance to North Korean refugees while also utilizing his international relations education to stimulate political advancements within the United States' government. During this internship, he hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the human rights crises in North Korea and hopes to strengthen his motivation to help North Korean refugees one day.

Jungeun Lee
Jungeun Lee Research Intern Fall 2020
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Jungeun Lee is a senior at McLean High School in Northern Virginia. Living in Korea for 14 years, she learned about North Korea’s humanitarian situation for years. In elementary school, she started to participate in small but meaningful activities, such as the Piggy Bank Campaign and knitting scarves for the escapees. After witnessing their hardships and as a young Korean interested in science, she believed that science education would be a fundamental building block for reconstruction. Through the HRNK internship, she hopes to gain more in-depth knowledge about North Korea and further aims to contribute to the Korean unification process as a science lecturer.

George Hutchinson's The Suryong, the Soldier, and Information in the KPA is the second of three building blocks of a multi-year HRNK project to examine North Korea's information environment. Hutchinson's thoroughly researched and sourced report addresses the circulation of information within the Korean People's Army (KPA). Understanding how KPA soldiers receive their information is needed to prepare information campaigns while taking into account all possible contingenc

North Korea’s Political Prison Camp, Kwan-li-so No. 14, Update 1
Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., Greg Scarlatoiu, and Amanda Mortwedt Oh
Dec 22, 2021

This report is part of a comprehensive long-term project undertaken by HRNK to use satellite imagery and former prisoner interviews to shed light on human suffering in North Korea by monitoring activity at political prison facilities throughout the nation. This is the second HRNK satellite imagery report detailing activity observed during 2015 to 2021 at a prison facility commonly identified by former prisoners and researchers as “Kwan-li-so No. 14 Kaech’ŏn” (39.646810, 126.117058) and

North Korea's Long-term Prison-Labor Facility, Kyo-hwa-so No.3, T’osŏng-ni (토성리)
Joseph S Bermudez Jr, Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda Oh, & Rosa Tokola
Nov 03, 2021

This report is part of a comprehensive long-term project undertaken by HRNK to use satellite imagery and former prisoner interviews to shed light on human suffering in North Korea by monitoring activity at civil and political prison facilities throughout the nation. This study details activity observed during 1968–1977 and 2002–2021 at a prison facility commonly identified by former prisoners and researchers as "Kyo-hwa-so No. 3, T'osŏng-ni" and endeavors to e

North Korea’s Political Prison Camp, Kwan-li-so No. 25, Update 3
Joseph S Bermudez Jr, Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda Oh, & Rosa Tokola
Sep 30, 2021

This report is part of a comprehensive long-term project undertaken by HRNK to use satellite imagery and former detainee interviews to shed light on human suffering in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, more commonly known as North Korea) by monitoring activity at political prison facilities throughout the nation. This report provides an abbreviated update to our previous reports on a long-term political prison commonly identified by former prisoners and researchers as Kwan-li-so

North Korea’s Potential Long-Term  Prison-Labor Facility at Sŏnhwa-dong (선화동)
Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda Oh, & Rosa Park
Aug 26, 2021

Through satellite imagery analysis and witness testimony, HRNK has identified a previously unknown potential kyo-hwa-so long-term prison-labor facility at Sŏnhwa-dong (선화동) P’ihyŏn-gun, P’yŏngan-bukto, North Korea. While this facility appears to be operational and well maintained, further imagery analysis and witness testimony collection will be necessary in order to irrefutably confirm that Sŏnhwa-dong is a kyo-hwa-so.

North Korea’s Long-term Prison-Labor Facility Kyo-hwa-so No. 8, Sŭngho-ri (승호리) - Update
Joseph S Bermudez, Jr, Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda M Oh, & Rosa Park
Jul 22, 2021

"North Korea’s Long-term Prison-Labor Facility Kyo-hwa-so No. 8, Sŭngho-ri (승호리) - Update" is the latest report under a long-term project employing satellite imagery analysis and former political prisoner testimony to shed light on human suffering in North Korea's prison camps.

Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of Korea: The Role of the United Nations" is HRNK's 50th report in our 20-year history. This is even more meaningful as David Hawk's "Hidden Gulag" (2003) was the first report published by HRNK. In his latest report, Hawk details efforts by many UN member states and by the UN’s committees, projects and procedures to promote and protect human rights in the DPRK.  The report highlights North Korea’s shifts in its approach

South Africa’s Apartheid and North Korea’s Songbun: Parallels in Crimes against Humanity by Robert Collins underlines similarities between two systematically, deliberately, and thoroughly discriminatory repressive systems. This project began with expert testimony Collins submitted as part of a joint investigation and documentation project scrutinizing human rights violations committed at North Korea’s short-term detention facilities, conducted by the Committee for Human Rights