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Articles by Board Members, Fellows and Staff

Milken Review

Marcus Noland and Stephan Haggard
Jan 01, 2013

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).

[세계초대석] 美 NGO 북한인권위원회 그레그 스칼라튜 사무총장

박희준
Dec 18, 2012

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한국 새정부, 北 열악한 인권상황 대북정책에 포함시켜야”

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).

North Korean Human Rights and Korea’s “Global Destiny”

Greg Scarlatoiu
Dec 18, 2012

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Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming December 19 presidential elections in South Korea, there will likely be changes in Seoul’s approach to North Korea. Since the shooting of South Korean tourist Park Wang-ja at Mount Kumgang in July 2008, inter-Korean exchanges have subsided, and inter-Korean tensions have been further exacerbated by the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan on March 26, 2010, the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island by North Korean artillery on November 23 of the same year, North Korea’s dispatching agents to assassinate North Korean defectors including the late Hwang Jang-yeop and “balloon launch activist” Park Sang-hak or high-ranking South Korean officials such as Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, and North Korea’s long-range missile tests. Undoubtedly, the thawing of inter-Korean relations would depend, first and foremost, on an attitudinal change on the part of the Kim Jong-un regime, which appears keen, however, on continuing the development of its long-range missile and nuclear capabilities.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).

North Koreans in China in Need of International Protection

Roberta Cohen
Dec 05, 2012

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In the face of continuing persecution of North Koreans who are forcibly returned to their country of origin by China, the international community needs to reconsider how it might better work towards securing protection for North Koreans. Some may be political refugees, others ‘refugees sur place’; they may not have been refugees when they left their country but become refugees because they have a valid fear of persecution upon return.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).

Exporting North Korean Gulag Must Not Be Permitted at Future Olympics

Katrina Lantos Swett
Aug 20, 2012

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After 17 amazing days, the London Olympics are over. For millions of people around the world who were transfixed by this unique celebration of sport and the human spirit, the afterglow of these inspiring days of competition will linger for many days to come. What stays with us are the unforgettable personal stories of courage, hope, and endurance; indeed, with the Olympics, it is often as much about the stories as the competition. However, we would do well to realize that one of the most telling stories of these Games is one we were not permitted to hear at all. Namely, the hidden, suppressed, and undeniably grim story of the athletes of North Korea.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).

North Korea, Human Rights and Chen Guangcheng

Roberta Cohen, HRNK Co-Chair of the Board
May 16, 2012

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A Chinese dissident’s recent escape from house arrest has inspired comparisons with the politically repressed of North Korea. However, there is a critical difference between the respective human rights situations of the two neighbors: while a foundation exists for the US to broach the topic of alleged abuses with China, nuclear containment is the clear priority in talks with North Korea, with other issues taking the backseat. HRNK Co-Chair Emeritus Roberta Cohen argues that “only through the broad context of security, political and economic issues [can] progress on human rights be made,” and suggests changes to the US approach to North Korea.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).

Kangsong Taeguk and Political Succession: Problems and Prospects

Greg Scarlatoiu
May 15, 2012

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To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Kim Il-sung’s birthday, the North Korean regime announced its goal of achieving “Kangsong Taeguk,” a “powerful and prosperous state,” by April 15, 2012.  After the death of Kim Jong-il on December 17, 2011, the North Korean regime confirmed his son, Kim Jong-un, as leader of the country. North Korea’s 2012 New Year editorial mentioned the term “Kangsong Taeguk“ only five times, while mention of Songun, North Korea’s “military first policy,” introduced by Kim Jong-il, was used fourteen.  This article explores the meaning and likelihood of North Korea’s achieving its declared goal of achieving a “powerful and prosperous state,” under circumstances defined by a highly unpredictable hereditary transmission of power.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).

Human Rights Progress in North Korea: Is It Possible?

Roberta Cohen, HRNK Co-Chair of the Board
Mar 20, 2012

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Despite hopes, even predictions that Kim Jong Il’s death might usher in progress on human rights in North Korea, no change is yet discernible. The author provides 10 benchmarks for evaluating possible changes in North Korea in the area of human rights.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).

The Black Hole of North Korea

Marcus Noland, HRNK Board Member
Mar 06, 2012

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HRNK Board Member Marcus Noland explains that North Korea's economic statistics, which are regarded as state secrets by the regime, are inaccurate when calculated by outside sources such as the UN due to a lack of information. In principle, examining “mirror statistics” paints a reliable picture of economic activity; however, from mistaking one Korea for the other to the omission of certain trade partners, various errors skew results from this approach. Further compounding the challenge of reaching reliable conclusions about North Korea’s economy are the politicization of independent analyses (especially in South Korea) and the emergence of an unregulated quasi-market in the North.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).

North Korea: A Different Perspective

Andrew Natsios, HRNK Co-Chair of the Board
Feb 23, 2012

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HRNK Co-Chair Emeritus Andrew S. Natsios warns that, despite severe food insecurity in North Korea, continuing to offer aid as an incentive to participate in nuclear talks will be ineffective. Not only is the use of humanitarian assistance as a diplomatic weapon unsavory, but Natsios also contends that the US has unintentionally been practicing perverse diplomacy: supplying food and thereby allowing North Korea to focus on producing nuclear weapons, then convincing them (by way of the example in Libya) that surrendering them would threaten the regime’s survival.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).
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The views expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).

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

This paper draws on existing research and Robert Collins’ previous work to explain the ideological basis and institutional structure of the Kim regime’s rule of terror, with an emphasis on the political prison camps. It is intended to provide a brief overview of how North Korea’s party-state controls every individual’s life from the cradle to the grave through relentless indoctrination, surveillance, and punishment. Specifically, it seeks to answer the following questions: What so

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

In this book, David Hawk provides never-before-seen imagery of labor re-education camps, both suspected and confirmed. He reveals a parallel network of prisons controlled by the DPRK’s Ministry of People’s Security (An-jeon-bu). These revelations suggest the imposition of degrees of suffering even more pervasive than the UN COI described in 2014. Although these labor camps might be described as “ordinary prisons”, there is nothing “ordinary” in the treatment of those i

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

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 9.0px Helvetica; color: #3f5864} span.s1 {font: 5.0px Helvetica} 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.