Home > HRNK Announcements
HRNK Announcements
June 20, 2019

Cover image from HRNK's publication, "Lives for Sale: Personal Accounts of Women Fleeing North Korea to China."

As we observe World Refugee Day, North Korea's slow motion refugee crisis continues. Almost 33,000 North Korean escapees, about 80 percent of them women, have resettled in South Korea. But not all of the North Korean refugees have been as fortunate. Denied protection or safe haven, North Korean refugees in China, in particular women and children, are most vulnerable. 

On World Refugee Day, China should be reminded of the obligations it assumed under the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Additional Protocol. If forcibly repatriated, North Korean refugees, most of them women, face a credible fear of persecution, as they are interrogated, beaten, tortured, imprisoned and even executed by North Korean authorities. Thus, China should recognize they are refugees sur place and grant them access to the process leading to acquiring political refugee status instead of forcibly repatriating them to conditions of danger.

Ultimately, it is the North Korean regime that holds the key to resolving the North Korean refugee crisis. If it invested in the human security of its population instead of the tools of death that threaten regional peace and security, fewer North Koreans might be forced to leave. If the North Korean regime decriminalized leaving the country without approval, there would no longer be a North Korean refugee crisis. If the North Korean regime began observing the fundamental human rights of Koreans living in the North, that would be a first step down the road of peace, prosperity, reconciliation and unification of all Koreans.

Greg Scarlatoiu

Executive Director


Embargoed until 12:01 a.m. February 25, 2021.  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-

North Korea's Chŭngsan No. 11 Detention Facility
Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda Oh, & Rosa Park
Dec 21, 2020

This report is part of a comprehensive long-term project undertaken by HRNK to use satellite imagery to shed light on human suffering in the DPRK (more commonly known as North Korea) by monitoring activity at political prison and detention facilities throughout the nation. This study endeavors to both establish a preliminary baseline report and detail activities observed during 2002–2020 at a detention facility variously identified by former prisoners and researchers as the “Chŭngsan No. 11

North Korea's Long-term Prison-Labor Facility Kyo-hwa-so No. 12, Jŏngŏ-ri - Update 3
Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda Oh, & Rosa Park
Sep 30, 2020

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C., has launched a report entitled North Korea: Imagery Analysis of Kyo-hwa-so No. 12, Jŏngŏ-ri - Update 3. The report methodology comprises satellite imagery analysis and former prisoner testimony. This kyo-hwa-so detention facility was first featured in the September 2015 report The Hidden Gulag IV: Gender Repression and Prisoner Disappearances by David Hawk. HRNK re


THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 AM FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2019THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 AM FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2019. Lost Generation: The Health and Human Rights of North Korean Children, 1990–2018 is a nearly thirty-year study monitoring the health and human rights conditions of North Korean children. “Health” is defined by the World Health Organization as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of dis