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ON WORLD REFUGEE DAY, REMEMBER NORTH KOREANS
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

 

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

EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 A.M. EST WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2019.

North Korea’s Long-term Re-education through Labor Camp (Kyo-hwa-so) No. 4 at Kangdong
Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda Mortwedt Oh, an
Jun 20, 2019

This report is part of a comprehensive long-term project undertaken by HRNK to use satellite imagery to shed light on human suffering in North Korea by monitoring activity at prison facilities throughout the nation. This study details activity observed during the past 15 years at a prison facility identified by escapees and researchers as “Kyo-hwa-so No. 4, Kangdong” (39.008838° 126.153277°) and endeavors to establish a preliminary baseline report of the facility.

North Korea’s Long-term Re-education through Labor Camp (Kyo-hwa-so)  at Pokchŏng-ni
Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda Mortwedt Oh, an
May 29, 2019

This report is part of a comprehensive long-term project undertaken by HRNK to use satellite imagery to shed light on human suffering in North Korea by monitoring activity at political prison facilities throughout the nation. This study details activity observed during the past 14 years at a prison facility that is provisionally being identified as the Pokchŏng-ni Kyo-hwa-so (39.001730 126.055616) and endeavors to establish a preliminary baseline report of the facility.

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 Hamgyŏng-bukto, North Korea. Thousands of political prisoners are held in this re-education prison labor camp together with common offenders.