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HRNK REPORT LAUNCH: North Korea’s Long-term Prison-Labor Facility Kyo- hwa-so No. 3 (T'osŏng-ni, Sinŭiju-si, P’yŏngbuk)
November 03, 2021


BASED ON SATELLITE IMAGERY ANALYSIS (1968 to 2021), HRNK ISSUES BASELINE REPORT ON DETENTION FACILITY LOCATED IN KEY BORDER TOWN, JUST ACROSS THE AMNOK RIVER AND “FRIENDSHIP BRIDGE” FROM THE CHINESE CITY OF DANDONG. ROWS OF PRISONERS VISIBLE IN RECENT SATELLITE IMAGERY. COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THE EVOLUTION AND HISTORY OF THE CAMP. THE ROLE OF KYO-HWA-SO NO. 3 IN INTENSIFIED CRACKDOWN UNDER THE PRETEXT OF COVID, TO BE FURTHER DETERMINED.

 

THE REPORT IS AVAILABLE AS A PDF FILE THROUGH HRNK’S WEBSITE: https://www.hrnk.org/uploads/pdfs/KHS3_1101.pdf

WASHINGTON, November 3, 2021. The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) releases today an update on Long-Term Prison Labor Facility No. 3, T’osŏng-ni. 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 the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, more commonly known as North Korea) by monitoring activity at detention facilities throughout the country.


This is the first time HRNK investigates this particular facility. The report provides baseline analysis of Camp No. 3. Based on satellite imagery analysis, Kyo-hwa-so No. 3 was established around 1968 and remains a fully operational prison. This detention facility is well maintained by North Korean standards, as indicated by activity and general good maintenance inside the prison and in adjacent areas.

Both satellite imagery coverage of the facility and interviewee testimony indicate that Camp No. 3 prisoners are forced to work in agricultural production as well as in some light manufacturing, likely including clothing and bicycles.

This kyo-hwa-so is reported to be subordinate to the Prisons Bureau of the Ministry of Social Security (사회안전성, Sa-hoe An-jeon-seong). During early 2020, North Korea is reported to have changed the name of the Ministry of People’s Security back to its older name of Ministry of Social Security. Specifically, Camp No. 3 would be under the control of the Ministry’s P’yŏng-buk Bureau. However, it cannot be ruled out that it is subordinate to the Ministry’s Sinŭiju-si Bureau. The Ministry of Social Security itself directly reports to the State Affairs Commission, chaired by Kim Jong-un.

Report author, HRNK Principal Investigator and Senior Imagery Analyst Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr. pointed out: “Over nine years since its inception, HRNK’s satellite imagery-based monitoring of North Korea’s detention facilities has gained depth, breadth, and sophistication. The resolution of open-source imagery has been constantly improving. We can now see rows of prisoners at Camp No. 3.”


Bermudez further added: “Human intelligence relating to the camps has also been improving. In June 2019, with the great help of Mr. Ishimaru Jiro and Asia Press, HRNK was able to publish both ground and satellite imagery of Kyo-hwa-so No. 4 in Kangdong. Our ever-improving methodology, combining satellite imagery analysis and escapee testimony, provides a roadmap to seeking accountability, justice, and redress in North Korea.”

HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu underlined the importance of the location of Long-Term Prison-Labor Facility No. 3: “T’osŏng-ni is located in (South) Sinŭiju, across the Freedom Bridge from the Chinese border city of Dandong. This is a location of great importance to both the illicit border trade fueling North Korea’s informal markets and the routes followed by North Koreans who attempt to escape the reclusive country. Under the pretext of COVID prevention, the Kim Jong-un regime has been cracking down hard on both markets and attempted escapes. Through further investigation and analysis, HRNK intends to better understand the role of Camp No. 3 in the ever-intensifying repression of the North Korean people.”

HRNK Director of International Advocacy and Development Amanda Mortwedt Oh emphasized that “thousands of miles away, we see North Korean prisoners in satellite imagery and, based on repeated testimony, know prisoners at these types of facilities are forced to work under inhumane prison labor conditions causing great suffering, sometimes to the point of death.” Mortwedt Oh further added: “People should not have to die in the name of ‘re-education through labor.’ This is 100% preventable by the North Korean leadership, particularly Kim Jong-un.”

RELEASE DETAILS


The report rollout and presentation by Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. will be held via Zoom virtual conference, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), on Wednesday, November 3, 2021. HRNK Director of International Advocacy and Development Amanda Mortwedt Oh and HRNK consultant and North Korean escapee Doohyun (Jake) Kim will be discussants. HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu will moderate.

If you are unable to participate, a video recording will be made available on HRNK’s YouTube channel after the event.

The report release is ON-THE-RECORD. For media inquiries, please contact Greg Scarlatoiu at [email protected].

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.

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