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HRNK REPORT LAUNCH: DENIED FROM THE START: HUMAN RIGHTS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL IN NORTH KOREA, BY ROBERT COLLINS
December 18, 2018


HRNK REPORT LAUNCH: DENIED FROM THE START: HUMAN RIGHTS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL IN NORTH KOREA, BY ROBERT COLLINS
 

NEW HRNK REPORT HIGHLIGHTS THE LIFE OF NORTH KOREANS OUTSIDE OF PYONGYANG A ND EXPLAINS THE MECHANISM OF HUMAN RIGHTS DENIAL AT THE LOCAL LEVEL; FEATURES FIRST-HAND TESTIMONY OF MANDATORY SELF-CRITICISM SESSIONS

THE REPORT, AVAILABLE THROUGH https://www.hrnk.org/uploads/pdfs/Collins_Denied_FINALFINALFINAL_WEB.pdf,  IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 A.M. EST WEDNESDAY DEC. 19, 2018

WASHINGTON, December 19, 2018. The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) releases today a comprehensive study of North Korean society at the “local level,” beyond the boundaries of the privileged elite who live in the capital city of Pyongyang. Denied from the Start: Human Rights at the Local Level in North Korea surveys the local institutions tasked by the Kim regime to deny the human rights of North Koreans within their families, schools, housing units, and workplaces.

Denied from the Start catalogs the systematic abuse of human rights by the North Korean regime, including a first-hand account of a schoolchild’s experience of mandatory self-criticism sessions inside the country, along with a detailed rendition of her self-criticism notebook.

Author Robert Collins states: “It was my intent to adopt a bottom-up rather than top-down approach to studying North Korean society at the local level. I wanted to highlight the human rights abuses faced by the vast majority of North Koreans who are not political elites.” In this way, Denied from the Start outlines the hardship endured by the family unit in the North Korean provinces. Collins further adds: “Parents are just trying to raise their children to have a better future and life than they did, but it’s impossible because of the Kim regime’s policies and institutions that deny human rights at every turn.” Ultimately, Denied from the Start is a testament to the Party-state’s willful failure to meet its obligations to its people, assumed through international human rights mechanisms North Korea has ratified as well as its own domestic legislation.

Denied from the Start makes it clear that North Korea’s participation in international human rights mechanisms and accession to relevant legal instruments is not honored in policies at the local level, severely impacting ordinary North Koreans who are, in reality, denied their fundamental human rights from birth. According to HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu, “understanding the dynamics of human rights denial at the local level is imperative in order to prepare for future humanitarian and development interventions as well as transitional justice.” Scarlatoiu further states that, by understanding human rights denial at the local level, “the international community will be better equipped to approach the education of North Koreans about freedom and human rights when the opportunity presents itself.”

Jung H. Pak, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow and SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies states that “too often, we focus on the top leadership, the nuclear and ballistic missile programs and the national security threat they pose to the international community.” Park considers that Robert Collins’ studies, including Denied from the Start, “have profoundly shaped the contours of the debate and our understanding of the hardest of the hard targets.” According to Park, Denied from the Start “powerfully shows how repression and human rights violations are baked into the system, and how the regime’s harnessing of the mechanisms of internal control is a critical pillar that serves to reinforce the Kim dynasty’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons program.” Park regards the report as “a must-read for policymakers, military planners, students and national security experts.”

David Maxwell, Foundation for Defense of Democracies Senior Fellow and HRNK Board member predicts that Denied from the Start “will become a most important contribution to the Korean unification process.”  According to Maxwell, “every military organization, intelligence agency, government department, and non-governmental and international organization that enters North Korea to help the Korean people will be well prepared if they read this report first.  Policy, strategy, and campaign planning can flow from this report.” Maxwell further states that “Robert Collins has given Koreans living in the North a voice and through this report we can better understand the situation and how to address it now and when unification happens.”

Tomás Ojea Quintana, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, has called for access inside North Korea, particularly in the provinces. According to Special Rapporteur Quintana, “Whereas the system of political control over the population remains intact all along the country, there is a pattern of people being left on their own by the Government to make their livelihood –where people under arduous and generally illegal conditions must provide for their health, for their food–despite the Government’s assurances that its people enjoy these kinds of rights".

North Korea will undergo its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May 2019. This is a review process of a state’s human rights record, and all UN member states are periodically reviewed with the intention of improving the human rights situation on the ground. As Denied from the Start recommends, the lives of North Koreans may be improved by eliminating loyalty-based socio-political discrimination (songbun), preferential treatment of residents in Pyongyang, and self-criticism sessions (saenghwal chonghwa). Consequently, the UPR is another opportunity to engage North Korea and advocate for human rights improvements on behalf of millions of vulnerable men, women and children. “If North Korea is keen on joining the 21st century community of civilized and responsible nations, it must assume its responsibility to abide by internationally accepted human rights standards,” says Greg Scarlatoiu.

 

For media inquiries contact Greg Scarlatoiu at executive.director@hrnk.org or 202-499-7973 or author Robert Collins directly at robert.collins@hrnk.org.

THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 A.M. EST WEDNESDAY, DEC. 19, 2018.

RELEASE DETAILS

The report’s release will be held at the Holeman Lounge of the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 from 2:00-4:00pm. The event will feature remarks by Robert Collins, author of Marked for Life: Songbun, North Korea's Social Classification System (2012), Pyongyang Republic: North Korea's Capital of Human Rights Denial (2016), and From Cradle to Grave: The Path of North Korean Innocents (2017). Following this, there will be by a discussion with David Maxwell, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and HRNK Board Member, and Jung Pak, Senior Fellow and SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies at The Brookings Institution. Greg Scarlatoiu, HRNK Executive Director, will moderate.

Please join us! One complimentary copy of the report will be offered to each participant. Our publications are freely available online here as well: https://www.hrnk.org/publications/hrnk-publications.php.

HRNK was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit research organization dedicated to documenting human rights conditions in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as North Korea is formally known. Visit www.hrnk.org to find out more.

 

RSVP

Please email Rosa Park, HRNK Director of Programs, at rosapark@hrnk.org with any questions or concerns.

THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 A.M. EST WEDNESDAY DEC. 19, 2018.

Denied from the Start: Human Rights at the Local Level in North Korea is a comprehensive study of how North Korea’s Kim regime denies human rights for each and every citizen of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). In doing so, this report examines human rights denial policies and practices. Local institutions are responsible for this denial at the schools, housing units, workplaces, and beyon

In this submission, HRNK focuses its attention on the DPRK’s— 

1. System of political imprisonment, wherein a multitude of human rights violations are evidenced, including enforced disappearance, amounting to crimes against humanity. 

2. Restrictions on freedom of movement, affecting women in particular, as evidenced in sexual violence, human trafficking, and arbitrary detention. 

3. Policy of social and political discrimination, known as “so

From Cradle to Grave: The Path of North Korean Innocents
Robert Collins and Amanda Mortwedt Oh
Nov 13, 2017

이 보고서는  기존의 연구와 로버트 콜린스(Robert Collins)의 이전 저작들을 기반으로 정치범 수용소에 방점을 두고 북한 정권의 공포정치의 사상적 기반과 제도적 구조를 설명하고 있습니다. 어떻게 북한 당국이 끊임없이 세뇌교육, 감시, 처벌을 통해 개개인의 삶을 요람에서 무덤까지 통제하는지 간략한 개관을 제공하고자 합니다. 특히, 이 보고서는 다음 질문들에 답하고자 합니다: 어떤 사회 정치적 및 법적 역학이 개인을 정치범 수용소로 이끄는가? 어떻게 의심의 여지없이 죄가 없는 북한 주민들이 정권의 관점에서  범죄자로 보여지는가? 어떻게 김씨 정권에 충성을 보였던 북한 주민들이 결국 정치범 수용소의 이름 없는 무덤으로 내몰리는가? 누가 이런 판단을 내리며 누가 이를 강제하는데 책임이 있는가?

The Parallel Gulag: North Korea's
David Hawk with Amanda Mortwedt Oh
Oct 26, 2017

이 책에서 데이비드 호크(David Hawk)는 이전에는 본 적 없던 추정되는 그리고 확인된 노동 교화 수용소의  모습을 제공합니다. 그는 안전부(현 인민보안성)가 통제하는 감옥 네트워크에 대해 밝히고 있습니다. 이러한 폭로는 2014년 유엔 북한인권 조사위원회(COI)가 묘사했던 것보다 더 만연한 수준의 고통을 보여주고 있습니다. 이 노동 수용소가 “일반적인 감옥”이라고 묘사됨에도 불구하고, 이곳에 갇힌 이들의 처우 중 “일반적인” 것은 아무것도 없습니다. 수감자와 정치범 처우 사이에 다른 점은 단지 “정도의 차이일 뿐 원칙적으로는 같습니다. 강제 노동과 의도적인 굶주림, 부족한 의료, 열악한 위생 상태를 결합한 정책은 매년 수천 명의 수감자들의 죽음을 낳고 있습니다.”

North Korea Camp No. 25 Update 2
Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Andy Dinville, and Mike Eley
Nov 29, 2016

As part of a joint undertaking with HRNK to use satellite imagery to shed light on human suffering in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, more commonly known as North Korea), AllSource Analysis has been monitoring activity at political prison facilities throughout North Korea. This report details activity observed during the past

North Korea: Flooding at Kyo-hwa-so No. 12, Jongo-ri
Greg Scarlatoiu and Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.
Sep 16, 2016

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a non-governmental organization based in Washington, DC and AllSource Analysis, a leading global provider of high-resolution earth imagery solutions, have conducted a satellite imagery-based rapid assessment of flood damage at Kyo-hwa-so No. 12, Jongo-ri in Hamgyŏng-bukto, North Korea. Thousands of political prisoners are held in this re-education prison labor camp together with common offenders.