Home > HRNK Announcements
HRNK Announcements
Statement Regarding South Korea’s Deportation of North Korean Escapees
November 07, 2019


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.”

 
Contact:              
Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director
[email protected]
202-499-7973

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 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2019.

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.