HRNK REPORT LAUNCH: LOST GENERATION: THE HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS OF NORTH KOREAN CHILDREN, 1990-2018, BY DR. W. COURTLAND ROBINSON
NEW HRNK REPORT HIGHLIGHTS THE PLIGHT OF NORTH KOREA’S CHILDREN BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE GREAT FAMINE OF THE 1990s THE REPORT IS AVAILABLE AS A PDF FILE THROUGH HRNK’S WEBSITE:
THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 AM FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2019.
WASHINGTON, OCTOBER 18, 2019. Marking the 15th anniversary of the signing into U.S. law of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) releases today a comprehensive study titled Lost Generation: The Health and Human Rights of North Korean Children, 1990–2018. HRNK is pleased and honored that Mr. Tomás Ojea Quintana, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will be giving introductory remarks.
With this report, Dr. W. Courtland Robinson and his six-member research team of the Center for Humanitarian Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Jiho Cha, Soim Park, Casey Branchini, Daeseong Kim, Seung Yun Kim, and Taeyoung Kim) write a new chapter in the history of HRNK. Through Dr. Robinson’s landmark report, one can grasp the true extent of the human insecurity and human rights violations affecting a most vulnerable group, North Korea’s children, and, thus, better understand the suffering caused by the great famine and its aftermath.
According to HRNK Board member Marcus Noland, “Lost Generation is a comprehensive, evidence-based assessment of the plight of North Korean children, complete with extensive recommendations for policy.”
Noland further states that “Court Robinson and his collaborators have distilled decades of careful empirical work into a magisterial account of the status of children in North Korea, those who have made it to the South, and those who are effectively stateless in China.”
HRNK Board Co-chair Emeritus Roberta Cohen points out that “the Robinson report’s identification of North Korea’s most vulnerable children lays a needed foundation for advocacy by UN humanitarian organizations and NGOs for children in detention, street children, child laborers, other unaccompanied and separated children, and children born to North Korean mothers in China.” Cohen further adds: “Robinson’s discussion of the physical and psychological impact on children of the great famine of the 90s points to North Korean government responsibility and reinforces recent calls for reparation for the survivors.”
Given that North Korea is the world’s most reclusive regime, Dr. Robinson and the research team faced significant challenges. According to the report author, “the available data on North Korean children over the last quarter century are limited and problematic. For children living in North Korea, we are constrained by the very limited access given to outside organizations and observers. Some data from the government, even some data gathered by the government in cooperation with international organizations, are flawed, incomplete, or possibly manipulated. For children living outside of North Korea, some may be healthier or have more means to migrate than children inside, but they may also be more desperate, or more exposed to deprivation and oppressive treatment. Thus, we must view the picture as an incomplete patchwork. However, given all we know from the data from inside North Korea, the health and human rights conditions of children remain dire, and the situation of children outside North Korea is nothing short of calamitous.”
HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu believes that for North Korea, the first step towards rebuilding the international credibility it has been squandering for decades is to seriously acknowledge and address its human rights situation. Scarlatoiu states: “To move forward, North Korea will have to cease directing precious resources away from the humanitarian needs of its population, in particular the most vulnerable, toward the development of its nuclear weapons, missiles, and other tools of death. North Korea will have to collect and share its real statistical data. North Korea will have to ensure the transparency needed in order to disburse international humanitarian assistance unhampered by diversion and other distortions. North Korea will have to learn how to work with providers of international humanitarian assistance in order to prepare for the development technical assistance stage.” According to Scarlatoiu, “taking the first step by improving the human rights and human security of the ‘Lost Generation’ would be a crucial way to build goodwill and sustain credibility.”
Dr. Robinson’s overarching conclusion is that “based on the evidence we have gathered through our own research and based on analysis of other accumulated research and reporting, the North Korean state’s gross failure to protect the basic health, welfare and well-being of the population—including the children—constitutes more than a violation of elementary normative principles but a violation of core international human rights treaty obligations.”
The report’s release will be held in Room 122 of the Cannon House Office Building, located at 27 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003. The event will feature introductory remarks by UN Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana and a presentation by author Dr. Courtland W. Robinson. Following this, there will be a discussion with HRNK Board members Roberta Cohen and Marcus Noland. Greg Scarlatoiu, HRNK Executive Director, will moderate.
One complimentary copy of the report will be offered to each participant.
If you are unable to attend, a live Facebook feed will be available on HRNK’s Facebook page:
THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 AM FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2019
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.
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