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COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA URGES UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO MAINTAIN STRONG RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA
October 22, 2018


October 22, 2018 - The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a leading U.S. non-governmental organization with consultative status at the United Nations, today called upon the UN General Assembly to continue to adopt a strong annual resolution on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). North Korea’s pursuit of a peace agenda, HRNK declared, has not been matched by steps to improve its human rights record. This finding was confirmed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the DPRK, Tomas Ojea Quintana, whose September 19, 2018 report to the General Assembly found “no substantial changes in the serious human rights situation.”

Given the lack of improvement, HRNK calls for the General Assembly resolution to address:

  • The continued widespread and systematic crimes against humanity identified by the UN Commission of Inquiry and referenced in last year’s General Assembly resolution, which was adopted by broad consensus.
  • The political prison camps (kwan-li-so) and the re-education through labor camps (kyo-hwa-so) where tens of thousands of North Korean men, women, and children are incarcerated without adequate food or medical care, and regularly abused. According to satellite imagery analysis, the camps are expanding. HRNK has identified over twenty potential re-education through labor camps in addition to six operational political prison camps—Nos. 14, 15, 16, 18, 25 as well as Choma-bong Restricted Area, where a high security perimeter was constructed between 2013 and 2014 coinciding with the execution of Jang Song-taek and the imprisonment of his colleagues and family members.
  • Accountability for those most responsible for crimes against humanity as called for by the 2014 Commission of Inquiry report and the General Assembly’s 2017 resolution. Because of the direct link between the treatment of the North Korean people and security and stability of the Korean Peninsula, the resolution should again urge the Security Council to place the human rights situation on its agenda.
  • The violation of workers’ rights inside the country, in the prison facilities, and when workers are sent overseas. The revenue accrued to the government from forced labor sent abroad helps to enable its continued military and nuclear development.

To make connection with and promote the human rights of the North Korean people, HRNK calls for:

  1. Entry to the DPRK of UN human rights rapporteurs and officials; and 
  2. Full access and monitoring for humanitarian actors seeking to address the widespread malnutrition and lack of medical care in the country so as to enable them to reach the most vulnerable, including those in detention facilities.

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

North Korea’s Political Prison Camp, Kwan-li-so No. 14, Update 1
Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., Greg Scarlatoiu, and Amanda Mortwedt Oh
Dec 22, 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 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

North Korea's Long-term Prison-Labor Facility, Kyo-hwa-so No.3, T’osŏng-ni (토성리)
Joseph S Bermudez Jr, Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda Oh, & Rosa Tokola
Nov 03, 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 e

North Korea’s Political Prison Camp, Kwan-li-so No. 25, Update 3
Joseph S Bermudez Jr, Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda Oh, & Rosa Tokola
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 Park
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

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