Home > HRNK Announcements
HRNK Announcements
PRESS RELEASE: The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center and the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) to Host
November 02, 2013


The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center and the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) to Host Conference Calling for the Dismantlement of North Korea’s Political Prison Camps
Wednesday, November 6, 4:00 pm—8:30 pm
Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center
9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, IL
RESERVATIONS REQUIRED BY FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1 AT HRNK@ILHMEC.ORG

 

On Wednesday, November 6, the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center will be hosting a groundbreaking and high-level event, The Heart of Darkness: North Korea’s Hidden Gulag.  Featuring dignitaries and renowned journalists, scholars and survivors of the North Korea regime, this exclusive program, co-hosted by the Museum and the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), will bring awareness to one of the gravest human rights situations in the world today.

The plenary, held from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, will be followed by a buffet dinner. Ambassador Robert King, U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights, will deliver the dinner keynote remarks. From 7:00 to 8:00 pm, Shin Dong-hyuk, prison camp survivor and Blaine Harden, author of “Escape from Camp 14,” will engage in a discussion moderated by Melanie Kirkpatrick, author of “Escape from North Korea—The Untold Story of Asia’s Underground Railroad.” At 8:00 pm, the moderated discussion will be followed by a dessert reception and book signing. NO REGISTRATION FEE IS REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PLENARY AND DINNER.

Described as North Korea’s “modern day concentration camps,” a carefully concealed gulag was set up decades ago by the North Korean state, one of the most closed and repressive societies in the world.  It forcibly holds up to 120,000 political prisoners on starvation rations while subjecting them to forced labor, induced malnutrition, beatings, and other severe punishments.  Three generations of the same family, including children and grandparents, are imprisoned in the camps.  The rates of death in detention are reported to be high.  More and more information has been coming out over the past decade about the camps from former prisoners and former prison guards who have managed to flee the country as well as from satellite photos of North Korea’s “hidden gulag.”

Dr. Marcus Noland, HRNK Board member, said: “During the Holocaust, the excuse was made that neither the public nor their leaders knew the true dimensions of what was transpiring. While North Korea’s prison camp system has been labeled the ‘hidden gulag,’ increasing information flowing through a variety of sources makes feigning ignorance untenable.”

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and HRNK seek to mobilize opinion to call for the dismantlement of the camps and protection for the prisoners who survive.  Their efforts are expected to reinforce the work of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry, which was set up in March 2013 to investigate North Korea’s widespread, systematic, and grave violations of human rights and the extent to which they constitute crimes against humanity.

“It is essential that we affirm the obligation to recognize our shared responsibility to humanity, and remain resolute in fostering the promotion of human rights.  Our partnership with HRNK echoes a unified clarion call that we must stand firm against atrocities that erupt in our midst, and together resolve that such crimes against humanity must come to an end,” said Richard Hirschhaut, Executive Director of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.

“The Illinois Holocaust Museum’s mission to teach universal lessons that combat hatred, prejudice, and indifference to help bring awareness to and end atrocities around the world makes it a fitting place to call attention to the inhumanity of North Korea's political prison camps and demand freedom for the tens of thousands of men, women and children brutally persecuted behind their barbed wire fences,” said HRNK Co-chair Roberta Cohen.

“We are humbled and immensely grateful to know that the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie has joined our efforts to bring attention to the unspeakable brutality and inhumanity of North Korea’s vast system of unlawful imprisonment. Together, we will strive to dismantle North Korea’s prison camps, uncover their crimes, protect the victims, and bring justice to their tormentors,” said HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu.

The event, which will be translated simultaneously on-site in Korean and English, will discuss the promotion of effective action and ways the Chicago and greater Midwest community can become involved.  This conference is the third in a series.  The first was held in Washington, D.C. last year and co-sponsored by HRNK and The Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights of the American Jewish Committee.  It was hailed in a Washington Post editorial as “an unprecedented event” and was covered in more than 60 English and Korean language press reports.  The second was held later that year in Los Angeles and co-sponsored by HRNK and the Simon Wiesenthal Center at the Museum of Tolerance.    

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. In its 2006 report Failure to Protect: A Call for the UN Security Council to Act in North Korea, HRNK became the first organization to propose the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on the human rights situation in North Korea.

 

THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 A.M. EST WEDNESDAY DEC. 19, 2018. Denied from the Start: Human Rights at the Local Level in North Korea is a comprehensive study of how North Korea’s Kim regime denies human rights for each and every citizen of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). In doing so, this report examines human rights denial policies and practices. Local institutions are responsible for this denial at the schools, housing units, workplaces, and beyon

In this submission, HRNK focuses its attention on the DPRK’s—  1. System of political imprisonment, wherein a multitude of human rights violations are evidenced, including enforced disappearance, amounting to crimes against humanity.  2. Restrictions on freedom of movement, affecting women in particular, as evidenced in sexual violence, human trafficking, and arbitrary detention.  3. Policy of social and political discrimination, known as “so

From Cradle to Grave: The Path of North Korean Innocents
Robert Collins and Amanda Mortwedt Oh
Nov 13, 2017

This paper draws on existing research and Robert Collins’ previous work to explain the ideological basis and institutional structure of the Kim regime’s rule of terror, with an emphasis on the political prison camps. It is intended to provide a brief overview of how North Korea’s party-state controls every individual’s life from the cradle to the grave through relentless indoctrination, surveillance, and punishment. Specifically, it seeks to answer the following questions: What so

The Parallel Gulag: North Korea's
David Hawk with Amanda Mortwedt Oh
Oct 26, 2017

In this book, David Hawk provides never-before-seen imagery of labor re-education camps, both suspected and confirmed. He reveals a parallel network of prisons controlled by the DPRK’s Ministry of People’s Security (An-jeon-bu). These revelations suggest the imposition of degrees of suffering even more pervasive than the UN COI described in 2014. Although these labor camps might be described as “ordinary prisons”, there is nothing “ordinary” in the treatment of those i

North Korea Camp No. 25 Update 2
Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Andy Dinville, and Mike Eley
Nov 29, 2016

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 9.0px Helvetica; color: #3f5864} span.s1 {font: 5.0px Helvetica} As part of a joint undertaking with HRNK to use satellite imagery to shed light on human suffering in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, more commonly known as North Korea), AllSource Analysis has been monitoring activity at political prison facilities throughout North Korea. This report details activity observed during the past

North Korea: Flooding at Kyo-hwa-so No. 12, Jongo-ri
Greg Scarlatoiu and Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.
Sep 16, 2016

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a non-governmental organization based in Washington, DC and AllSource Analysis, a leading global provider of high-resolution earth imagery solutions, have conducted a satellite imagery-based rapid assessment of flood damage at Kyo-hwa-so No. 12, Jongo-ri in Hamgyo╠ćng-bukto, North Korea. Thousands of political prisoners are held in this re-education prison labor camp together with common offenders.