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PRESS RELEASE: HRNK and AllSource Analysis Update Report Based on Satellite Imagery of North Korea’s Political Prison Camp No.
June 05, 2014

Report Embargoed until 12:01 am EDT, Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C., in collaboration with AllSource Analysis (ASA), a leading global provider of high-resolution earth imagery solutions, will launch a report entitled North Korea’s Camp No. 25, Update.  Political Prison Camp No. 25 (a.k.a. Kwan-li-so No. 25) is located in Susong-dong, Chongjin-si, North Hamgyong Province, on the northeast coast of North Korea. While open-source information on the camp continues to be scarce, the Camp 25 political prisoner population is estimated to be around 5,000. The report, embargoed until 12:01 am EST Thursday, June 5, updates  a publication issued by HRNK on February 25, 2013. For this report, ASA undertook an imagery analysis of Camp No. 25 and its environs using a 50 cm pan-sharpened multispectral satellite image collected by Airbus Defense and Space (Airbus) on March 22, 2014.

The report is the first step in a collaborative effort by HRNK and AllSource Analysis to create a clear picture of the evolution and current state of North Korea’s political prison camps. AllSource Analysis will provide new imagery, acquired specifically for this project, and older archival imagery 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, Hidden Gulag Second Edition in 2012, and North Korea’s Hidden Gulag: Interpreting Reports of Changes in the Prison Camps in 2013. 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.

The new HRNK/ASA report establishes that Camp No. 25 remains operational, while maintaining a significant administrative, guard, and prisoner population. Although there have been no significant changes to the physical size of the facility, including prisoner housing, over the last 12 months, several improvements have been undertaken along the banks of the nearby Solgol Stream. These improvements and the presence of three well-maintained bridges along a 600-meter stretch of the stream opposite the camp suggest that the economic relationship between Camp No. 25 and the village of Susong-dong is significant. The imagery analysis indicates that the prisoner population is almost certainly employed to both maintain the agricultural fields, orchards, and livestock, and to work in the camp’s wood products and light industrial factories.

HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu said: “Ever since we began investigating the North Korean gulag, it became clear that the use of forced labor was extensive. The prisoners are subjected to torture, induced malnutrition, and forced labor. It has generally been difficult to assess the exact economic benefits extracted by the North Korean regime and the officials running the camps from the labor of prisoners equipped only with rudimentary tools. The recent HRNK/ASA report suggests that the economic significance of the Camp 25 prison labor has been increasing over the past 12 months. HRNK and ASA will endeavor to assess if this is the case with other North Korean political prison camps that remain operational.”

The report North Korea’s Camp No. 25, Update, embargoed until 12:01 am on Thursday, June 5, is available on HRNK’s website: www.hrnk.org.

Contact: Greg Scarlatoiu, [email protected]; 202-499-7973



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