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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, [email protected]; 202-499-7973

 

North Korea's Long-term Prison-Labor Facility, Kyo-hwa-so No.3, T’osŏng-ni (토성리)
Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., Greg Scarlatoiu, and Amanda Mortwedt Oh
Nov 02, 2021

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

North Korea’s Political Prison Camp, Kwan-li-so No. 25, Update 3
Joseph Bermudez, Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda M. Oh, & Rosa Park-Toko
Sep 30, 2021

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

North Korea’s Potential Long-Term  Prison-Labor Facility at Sŏnhwa-dong (선화동)
Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda Oh, & Rosa Park
Aug 26, 2021

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
Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda M. Oh, & Rosa P
Jul 22, 2021

"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-