PRESS RELEASE: HRNK LAUNCHES ROBERT COLLINS’ FROM CRADLE TO GRAVE
EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 A.M. EST MONDAY, NOV. 13, 2017
NEW ROBERT COLLINS PUBLICATION DOCUMENTS THE CHAINS OF POLITICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE COMMAND AND CONTROL RESPONSIBLE FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY IN NORTH KOREA, FINDS CONTROL FUNCTION PERFORMED BY KOREAN WORKERS’ PARTY (KWP)
HRNK LAUNCHES ROBERT COLLINS’ FROM CRADLE TO GRAVE
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WASHINGTON, November 13, 2017. The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) releases From Cradle to Grave: The Path of North Korean Innocents, by Robert Collins and Amanda Mortwedt Oh.
The authors ask: “How do North Koreans, who committed their lives to serve the Kim regime’s supreme leader and who are innocent by commonly-accepted legal standards, become criminals in the regime’s eyes? How do these innocent North Koreans, who study loyalty to the supreme leader daily, end up in unmarked graves inside a political prison camp?” The answer lies in the fact that Kim Jong-un’s prison camps are a tool of political oppression and control of North Korean citizens, which in the view of regime leaders is vital to the Kim regime’s continued existence and security. Collins and Mortwedt Oh bring critical details for accountability to light, thus illuminating the chain of command most responsible for atrocities in North Korea. Collins notes:
Chains of political control are far more critical to regime security than chains of administrative command. Though the administration of these camps is frequently reported as being controlled by the state, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the actual control function is performed by the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP).
As detailed in the report, a 2015 directive from Kim Jong-il is illustrative: “We must show the people that the last of traitors are eliminated even at the cost of gun-shots in public. We must expand camps for political prisoners in strategic locations and maintain strict control over them.”
George Hutchinson (International Council of Korean Studies, ICKS) points out that From Cradle to Grave is an essential read, “especially for those of us who are necessarily too often distracted by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs to fully understand the plight of the countless North Korean innocents who are frozen in an arbitrary system of human rights denial.” According to Hutchinson, From Cradle to Grave complements Collins’ previous seminal contribution, Pyongyang Republic, by showing how North Korea’s policy of human rights denial permeates the lives of its citizens.
According to James Durand (ICKS), “for over two decades, generals, academics, and policymakers have turned to Robert Collins to better understand the inner workings of the Kim Regime.” In Durand’s view, just like previous HRNK Collins publications, From Cradle to Grave will become a reference for those seeking to address the Kim regime’s systemic denial of human rights.
HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu emphasized that “HRNK and others, including the North Korean Human Rights Documentation Office - affiliated with the ROK Ministry of Justice (MOJ) - will continue to collect names of alleged perpetrators in North Korea in order to support not only the documentation process, but also future transitional justice and accountability efforts.”
Collins and Mortwedt Oh call on the Kim regime to notify family members when a loved one has been detained or has perished, and return the remains of the deceased to the family members to provide the victim with a proper burial in peace and dignity.
THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 A.M. EST MONDAY, NOV. 13, 2017
The report’s release will be held at the Holeman Lounge (13th floor) of the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Monday, November 13 from 2:00-3:30pm. The event will feature presentations by authors Robert Collins and Amanda Mortwedt Oh. Together with the authors, James Durand, Member of the Board of Directors, International Council of Korean Studies, Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Korean Studies, George Hutchinson, Member of the Board of Directors, International Council of Korean Studies, Editor, International Journal of Korean Studies, and Mark Tokola, Vice President, Korea Economic Institute, will engage in a discussion moderated by HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu. The event will also include a Q&A segment.
Please join us on November 13, 2017, for the launch of From Cradle to Grave. One complimentary copy of the report will be offered to each participant. Electronic files of our publications are available at: https://www.hrnk.org/publications/hrnk-publications.php.
HRNK was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit research organization dedicated to documenting human rights conditions in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as North Korea is formally known. Visit www.hrnk.org to find out more.
Contact: Greg Scarlatoiu, [email protected]; 202-499-7973
Board of Directors
(Affiliations other than HRNK are for identification only)
Gordon Flake (Co-Chair)
Katrina Lantos Swett (Co-Chair)
John Despres (Co-Vice-Chair)
Suzanne Scholte (Co-Vice-Chair)
Helen-Louise Hunter (Secretary)
Kevin C. McCann (Treasurer)
Roberta Cohen (Co-Chair Emeritus)
Andrew Natsios (Co-Chair Emeritus)
Rabbi Abraham Cooper
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