In an article posted to its website on March 1, the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned that
raising human rights issues will only exacerbate U.S.-DPRK relations, stating that the United
States is exploiting the human rights issue as a means of interfering in the domestic affairs of
The article, entitled “The Disgraceful Behavior of a Fake Human Rights Organization,” claimed
that the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) is “being directly controlled
by the U.S. government under the guise of a non-governmental organization to slander the
dignity of our country and overthrow our institutions.”
The article also noted that HRNK, in April 2021, called upon the Biden administration to
prioritize human rights and forcefully raise the human rights issue during the administration’s
North Korea policy review. It asserted that such activities were “intended to impede our progress
and conceal human rights issues in the United States, which are worsening by the day.”
The DPRK Foreign Ministry also called upon the United States “to promptly abandon any
schemes to tarnish the DPRK’s image through anti-DPRK front organizations [such as HRNK],”
further threatening that “clinging on to this human rights racket will only serve to darken the
prospects for U.S.-DPRK relations.”
In response to the statement by the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs, HRNK wishes to make it
very clear that it is not associated with any government. Established in October 2001 by a group
of distinguished foreign policy and human rights specialists, the mission of the Committee for
Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) is to promote human rights in North Korea. HRNK is a
Washington, D.C.-based civil society organization tasked exclusively to research, investigate,
and report on the North Korean human rights situation.
HRNK has held UN ECOSOC consultative status since 2018. Since 2001, HRNK has published
54 reports, investigating North Korea’s prison camps, vulnerable population groups, including
women, children, and people in detention, the DPRK’s policy of human rights denial, as well as
the DPRK’s efforts to deny its citizens the fundamental human right to freedom of information.
Our well-documented studies have established our reputation and our leading role in the growing
international network of human rights, humanitarian assistance, and policy organizations
committed to opening up and revealing North Korea to the rest of the world.
HRNK endeavors to close North Korea’s gulags, open North Korea’s borders, inform North
Korea’s citizens, foster good economic principles in North Korea, promote access throughout
North Korea, feed the hungry in North Korea, and link development assistance to North Korea to
tangible improvements in the regime’s human rights record.
HRNK is a non-governmental organization that is independent of any government, including the
government of the United States of America. For many years, HRNK’s policy on government
funding has been available on HRNK’s website at https://www.hrnk.org/about/about-hrnk.php. It
is also reproduced below.
Statement on Government Funding:
The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), founded in 2001 and based in
Washington DC, is a non-partisan human rights organization whose principal objective
is to raise international awareness of North Korea's human rights situation through the
publication of well documented reports and by undertaking outreach activities in support
of the recommendations in those reports.
HRNK's funding comes primarily from foundations and individual donors. When the
organization accepts funding from governments, it will be to further the mission of HRNK
and not for any other purpose. As a non-governmental organization, it is independent
from the direction of any government or from being under government influence in any
way. It is the objectivity, impartiality and quality of HRNK's reports that have established
its reputation and leading role in the network of human rights, humanitarian assistance,
and policy organizations focused on North Korea. The organization under all
circumstances will uphold its independent and non-political judgement in addressing
North Korea's human rights situation.
HRNK’s donors, Board members, report authors, senior advisors, staff members, and interns
sincerely hope that the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other DPRK government agencies
will overcome their aversion to dialogue on human rights in the DPRK and instead engage our
organization in a meaningful conversation on this critical issue.
HRNK stands ready to meet and talk with DPRK representatives at the UN in New York City or
Geneva, or any other location, at any time.
March 1, 2022
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