The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), The Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI), the Permanent Mission of Lithuania to the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, and the European Union Delegation to the UN hosted a side-event, “Investigating the DPRK Human Rights: Satellite Imagery, Lines of Responsibility, Accountability” on Friday, 28th October 2022, 1:15-2:45 PM (EST) in a hybrid format: virtually on Zoom and in-person at the premises of the Permanent Mission of Lithuania to the UN.
This event highlighted the human rights infringements and crimes against humanity perpetrated at DPRK detention facilities as well as the chain of command and control responsible for those violations, in order to emphasize the importance of human rights accountability in the DPRK.
Following presentations by ROK Ambassador-at-Large Lee Shin-wha and UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the DPRK Dr. Elizabeth Salmón, the event featured briefings by HRNK Senior Advisors Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr. and Robert Collins, based on an ongoing HRNK investigation of DPRK detention facilities, which uses a methodology combining satellite imagery, witness testimony, and open-source research.
Over three decades since the end of the Cold War, the DPRK has persisted as an egregious human rights violator. In the third decade of the 21st century, the DPRK continues to run a system of political prison camps and other unlawful detention facilities. Up to 200,000 men, women, and children are imprisoned at the
DPRK’s political prison camps, pursuant to a feudal-inspired system of guilt-by-association, which punishes up to three generations for the perceived wrongdoing of one family member.
To this day, the DPRK continues to discriminate against its own citizens, based on the songbun system of perceived loyalty-based social classification. To procure the resources it needs to develop its nuclear and missile programs and to keep key elites content through access to luxury goods and hard currency from the outside world, the DPRK continues to exploit and oppress its people at home and abroad. This side event aimed to draw attention to the worsening human rights situation in the DPRK as well as the deepening rift between the degrading human security situation of North Koreans and the continued obstinate focusing of resources not on the people, but on the development and testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
Moderator: Greg Scarlatoiu, HRNK Executive Director
Part I: DPRK Human Rights: Past, Present, Future
Part II: Satellite Imagery, Lines of Responsibility, Accountability
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