The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) is deeply concerned about the first deportation of North Koreans by South Korea since the 1953 Korean War Armistice. The South Korean government on Thursday deported two North Korean escapees to North Korea, a regime that has been denounced by the United Nations as having committed systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights and crimes against humanity. On the rare occasions in which a North Korean in South Korea asked to be repatriated, Seoul has complied. But this is the first time it has sent North Koreans back against their will. In doing so, South Korea has undermined its national Constitution, which recognizes all North Koreans as citizens of South Korea, granting them the right to live in the South and be protected by its legal system. “As we know from decades of research into how North Korea treats its citizens, there is no doubt that the two deportees have been returned to a place where they face no due process, harsh punishment, torture, and almost-certain execution,” says Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).
After their boat was seized by the South Korean navy on Saturday, the two fishermen reportedly requested resettlement in South Korea. Following an investigation that lasted only three days, South Korea sent the two back to North Korea, saying that that its investigators had determined that the men had killed 16 of their crew mates prior to escaping. Ministry of Unification spokesman Lee Sang-min stated that the two fishermen were “heinous criminals” who did not deserve recognition as refugees under applicable international law. “The claim that the two escapees killed 16 crew mates, is bizarre,” says Scarlatoiu. Moreover, the North Koreans were on South Korean soil and deserved the protection of South Korea’s legal system.
“The deportation of the two North Korean fishermen creates serious moral, ethical, and legal concerns that friends of Korea should call attention to,” says Scarlatoiu. He further adds: “The result of a cursory investigation, this deportation is contrary to obligations assumed by South Korea under human rights instruments including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director
This report is part of a comprehensive long-term project undertaken by HRNK to use satellite imagery and former prisoner interviews to shed light on human suffering in North Korea by monitoring activity at political prison facilities throughout the nation. This is the second HRNK satellite imagery report detailing activity observed during 2015 to 2021 at a prison facility commonly identified by former prisoners and researchers as “Kwan-li-so No. 14 Kaech’ŏn” (39.646810, 126.117058) and
This report is part of a comprehensive long-term project undertaken by HRNK to use satellite imagery and former prisoner interviews to shed light on human suffering in North Korea by monitoring activity at civil and political prison facilities throughout the nation. This study details activity observed during 1968–1977 and 2002–2021 at a prison facility commonly identified by former prisoners and researchers as "Kyo-hwa-so No. 3, T'osŏng-ni" and endeavors to e
This report is part of a comprehensive long-term project undertaken by HRNK to use satellite imagery and former detainee interviews to shed light on human suffering in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, more commonly known as North Korea) by monitoring activity at political prison facilities throughout the nation. This report provides an abbreviated update to our previous reports on a long-term political prison commonly identified by former prisoners and researchers as Kwan-li-so
Through satellite imagery analysis and witness testimony, HRNK has identified a previously unknown potential kyo-hwa-so long-term prison-labor facility at Sŏnhwa-dong (선화동) P’ihyŏn-gun, P’yŏngan-bukto, North Korea. While this facility appears to be operational and well maintained, further imagery analysis and witness testimony collection will be necessary in order to irrefutably confirm that Sŏnhwa-dong is a kyo-hwa-so.
"North Korea’s Long-term Prison-Labor Facility Kyo-hwa-so No. 8, Sŭngho-ri (승호리) - Update" is the latest report under a long-term project employing satellite imagery analysis and former political prisoner testimony to shed light on human suffering in North Korea's prison camps.
Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of Korea: The Role of the United Nations" is HRNK's 50th report in our 20-year history. This is even more meaningful as David Hawk's "Hidden Gulag" (2003) was the first report published by HRNK. In his latest report, Hawk details efforts by many UN member states and by the UN’s committees, projects and procedures to promote and protect human rights in the DPRK. The report highlights North Korea’s shifts in its approach
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-