December 10, 2019 is Human Rights Day. HRNK celebrates the dignity of all human beings and the progress humankind has made to protect and respect individual human rights. We are also approaching the end of a year that has marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of tyranny in Eastern Europe.
Three decades after that new dawn of freedom, millions can be seen marching for liberty in Hong Kong. Freedom loving people everywhere must applaud their efforts. Yet so many people across the globe remain tyrannized by authoritarian governments that do not protect the welfare, rights or security of their populations. One extreme example is North Korea’s Kim regime, which has accomplished two hereditary transmissions of power and continues to deny the fundamental human rights of its people. Crimes against humanity continue to be committed at North Korea’s unlawful detention facilities, including its political prison camps, where 120,000 men, women and children are held. The Kim regime prioritizes its tools of death over the human security of its people, with devastating consequences for North Korea’s humanitarian situation. North Korea’s leader and the Korean Workers' Party continue to subject most of their 25 million people to an unparalleled level of coercion, control, surveillance and punishment.
For almost two years, multiple rounds of summit diplomacy have tried to address the threat North Korean nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles pose to regional and international peace and security. Round after round, month after month, it has become painfully clear that human rights have, once again, been sidetracked by security concerns. The United States and South Korea were once proponents and promoters of international action on North Korean human rights. At the United Nations, both allies have withdrawn from the high ground they once held on the issue, for the sake of appeasing the Kim regime, in search of an always elusive and likely illusory “deal” with Kim Jong-un.
On this Human Rights Day 2019, HRNK affirms that there can be no true peace, reconciliation, or prosperity on the Korean peninsula without respect for human rights. The United States, South Korea and the international community must recognize that just like North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs, human rights violations are a symptom of a larger issue, the nature of the Kim regime. Resolving North Korea’s challenge to the peninsula and region will be possible only if serious attention is paid to human rights.
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-