Dear Friends of HRNK,
On March 11, 2020, the US Department of State released its annual 2019 country reports on human rights practices, including on North Korea’s human rights practices.
The North Korea Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2019 is available at https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/north-korea/.
In the 2019 North Korea country report, a plethora of human rights topics are discussed, including unlawful or arbitrary killings, forced disappearances, torture, arbitrary detentions, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, restrictions on free expression, coerced abortion, trafficking in persons, and the imposition of forced labor conditions on North Korean overseas workers.
The State Department also highlighted the fact that the Kim regime “still had not accounted for the circumstances that led to the death of Otto Warmbier,” who died in 2017 after his “unjust and unwarranted detention by the authorities.”
HRNK is quoted 13 times in the report. Six HRNK reports are referenced:
· North Korea: Ch’oma-bong Restricted Area by Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Andy Dinville, and Mike Eley (2016)
· The Parallel Gulag: North Korea’s “An-Jeon-Bu” Prison Camps by David Hawk with Amanda Mortwedt Oh (2017)
· Gulag, Inc. The Use of Forced Labor in North Korea's Export Industries by Kim Kwang-jin, edited by Raymond Ha (2016)
· North Korea’s Long-term Re-education through Labor Camp (Kyo-hwa-so) at Pokchŏng-ni by Joseph Bermudez, Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda Mortwedt Oh, and Rosa Park (2019)
· Digital Trenches: North Korea’s Information Counter-Offensive by Martyn Williams (2019)
· North Korea’s Organization and Guidance Department: The Control Tower of Human Rights Denial by Robert Collins (2019)
All HRNK publications, including the six reports quoted in the US State Department’s North Korea Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2019, are available as PDF files on HRNK’s website: https://www.hrnk.org/publications/hrnk-publications.php.
During these difficult times, it is truly encouraging to know that reporting by the US State Department has relied on HRNK's investigation, research and publications across a broad spectrum of expertise, including North Korea’s vast system of unlawful imprisonment, the dynamics of the Kim regime and its policy of human rights denial, and North Korea’s information environment.
None of this would have been possible without the staunch, constant, and generous support of HRNK's friends and donors. Although the times are tough, please do continue to support our efforts to bring freedom, human rights, and human security to the people of North Korea.
Dear friends, all of us at HRNK pray that you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe.
With gratitude and warm regards,
This report explains how the Kim regime organizes and implements its policy of human rights denial using the Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD) to preserve and strengthen its monolithic system of control. The report also provides detailed background on the history of the PAD, as well as a human terrain map that details present and past PAD leadership.
HRNK's latest satellite imagery report analyzes a 5.2 km-long switchback road, visible in commercial satellite imagery, that runs from Testing Tunnel No. 1 at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test facility to the perimeter of Kwan-li-so (political prison camp) no. 16.
This report proposes a long-term, multilateral legal strategy, using existing United Nations resolutions and conventions, and U.S. statutes that are either codified or proposed in appended model legislation, to find, freeze, forfeit, and deposit the proceeds of the North Korean government's kleptocracy into international escrow. These funds would be available for limited, case-by-case disbursements to provide food and medical care for poor North Koreans, and--contingent upon Pyongyang's progress
For thirty years, U.S. North Korea policy have sacrificed human rights for the sake of addressing nuclear weapons. Both the North Korean nuclear and missile programs have thrived. Sidelining human rights to appease the North Korean regime is not the answer, but a fundamental flaw in U.S. policy. (Published by the National Institute for Public Policy)
North Korea’s forced labor enterprise and its state sponsorship of human trafficking certainly continued until the onset of the COVID pandemic. HRNK has endeavored to determine if North Korean entities responsible for exporting workers to China and Russia continued their activities under COVID as well.
George Hutchinson's The Suryong, the Soldier, and Information in the KPA is the second of three building blocks of a multi-year HRNK project to examine North Korea's information environment. Hutchinson's thoroughly researched and sourced report addresses the circulation of information within the Korean People's Army (KPA). Understanding how KPA soldiers receive their information is needed to prepare information campaigns while taking into account all possible contingenc
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
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-term detention facilities, conducted by the Committee for Human Rights