Home > HRNK Announcements
HRNK Announcements
PRESS RELEASE: HRNK Calls on President Obama to Raise with President Xi Jinping of China the Protection of North Korean Refugees
June 04, 2013

Click here for the letter to Xi Jinping. 

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C., calls on President Obama in his upcoming talks with President Xi Jinping, to urge China to halt the forcible repatriation of North Korean refugees.  Only last week, nine North Korean teenagers attempting to find their way to freedom were arrested in Laos and forcibly repatriated by China to North Korea, where they are certain to be subjected to persecution and punishment.

HRNK also takes the occasion of President Xi’s visit to the United States to release the text of a letter it sent to him May 7. The letter calls upon China to adopt a “new approach” toward North Koreans escaping into its country, one in line with China’s obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and international human rights law.  

HRNK’s letter was  signed by The Honorable Winston Lord (former U. S. Ambassador to China and HRNK Board member), together with HRNK co-chairs Roberta Cohen (former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights) and Andrew Natsios (former USAID Administrator), and Greg Scarlatoiu, HRNK executive director. The organization is still hopeful of receiving a reply.
The letter called upon China to adhere to the fundamental refugee principle of non-refoulement and set up a refugee determination process for North Koreans in cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It called for new legislation incorporating China’s obligations under the Refugee Convention; and for a moratorium on deportations until China can ensure that North Koreans will not be returned to conditions of danger.  It called upon China to cooperate with other countries ready to admit North Koreans. It warned that “China’s continued deportations of North Koreans despite [international] appeals, and its collaboration with North Korea’s police in tracking down escapees, has cast an unfortunate shadow over the reputation of the People’s Republic.” The new President, it noted, had the opportunity to change this by embarking on a new policy based on "the rule of law."

HRNK was established in 2001 by a distinguished group of former U.S. government officials, Korea experts, and human rights and humanitarian specialists deeply concerned about the “grave, widespread and systematic human rights violations” reported in North Korea. It seeks to draw attention to human rights conditions in North Korea by publishing well-documented reports and papers, convening conferences, testifying at national and international fora, and seeking creative ways to end the isolation of the North Korean people. 

The letter addressed to President Xi Jinping is attached to this message. HRNK’s reports and more detailed information on our activities are available on HRNK’s website: www.hrnk.org

Contact: Greg Scarlatoiu, executive.[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 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