Rescue Activities - 2005
group (LFNKR) was founded in 1998 as a non-partisan
non-governmental organization with no political,
religious, or corporate affiliations. The 20 founding
members each contributed $100 out of their own pockets.
We held meetings in coffee shops rather than having
an office, and did our photocopying at a local print
List of Resources on North Korea
learn more about the issues and
involved? Here is a list of suggested resources to help
round out your knowledge.
Also included are the resource pages of Amnesty International
and Human Rights Watch, plus a short list of incisive,
clearly written books you may find useful.
Publicize NK Refugee Struggle
us support and rescue North Korean Refugees and
receive one of these imprinted shirts by mail.
Designed and produced by one of
our members, these white t-shirts are imprinted
with a plea for help.
- What We Did in FY 2005
year, among its many activities, LFNKR stepped up
efforts to develop new routes through which North Korean
third countries. It also secured more “underground
in addition to those already established.
Reveals Prisoner Beating
September 25, Free North Korea Broadcasting, a South Korean
NGO, released footage of a female North Korean defector
being beaten and kicked during interrogation on Aug. 17
at a guard post on the China-Korean border...
a North Korean Refugee for Just $20
is working on measures to supply winter clothing to 400 North
Korean refugees now in secret local
shelters in China. Each set of winter clothing will include
new undergarments, outer wear, shoes and warm winter coat
or heavy sweater.
Working Group Calls Arrest Arbitrary
UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a report
on May 27, 2005 calling China's detention of Choi Yong
Hun "arbitrary." This term means he is in prison without
just cause. Further, his detention is "in contravention
provisions of article 10 of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights," according to the report, and the
Group called upon China to rectify the situation.
NGO-Lawmaker Conference on NK Refugees
Conference drew NGOs and activists from around
the world to discuss North Korean refugees, abductees
and humanitarian aid workers detained in China. On the
third day, 40 lawmakers
nations held the Second General Meeting of IPCNKR.
Foster Children Tell How They Became Orphans
of LFNKR's former foster
children talked about their experiences in North Korea
and China. They were surprised by the keen interest of
who were waiting eagerly for them to arrive.
"Seoul Train" Screened
Jim Butterworth twice showed his award-winning film and
spoke about the problems daily faced by North Korean
Refugees hiding in China. Butterworth fielded questions
in a Q&A session following the first screening that
lasted for more
Overview of NK Refugee Issues
Peters, founder of Helping Hands Korea, gave lawmakers and
NGO representatives an overview of current difficulties and
challenges. In addition, he offered practical suggestions
and possible courses of action that those attending could take
back to their home countries.
Pleads for Help Freeing Her Father
Phillip J. Buck is currently being held in Yanji,
China for assisting North Korean Refugees. At age 68, his
health is poor, and despite being hospitalized once, authorities
refuse to let him go. His daughter calls for help to win his
Refugees Being Overlooked
Six-Party talks in Beijing are
dangerously close to overshadowing the struggles of five
refugees, as their stories become dwarfed by the "big picture" and
verge on being forgotten....
Assembly of International Lawmakers, NGOs
3-day Joint Assembly of Lawmakers and NGOs from a number of countries
will begin in Tokyo on Saturday, July 30. The purpose - to encourage
worldwide efforts to rescue North Korean refugees. Meanwhile,
China toughens its crackdown...
Tries to Stifle Award-Winning Documentary
film festival producers quietly passed the word to
director-producer Jim Butterworth recently that Chinese embassies have
been applying pressure to discourage showing of his SEOUL TRAIN
documentary. The film reveals China's role in sending North Korean
refugees back to face prison, torture and even execution.
Executions Captured on Video
footage, secretly taped and smuggled out of North Korea at great
risk, capture two outdoor trials. Each of these public trials
is followed immediately by executions. Now a DVD is available
showing these executions -- see the proof.
Long Way to Freedom - Book, 297 pages, Paperback
refugee family’s journey to safety. Follow their daring
escape from North Korea, then their years of hiding. Experience
bravery, fortune, failure, and defeat through the eyes of one
family. Go with them as they ultimately reach safety and freedom
against all odds. Researcher Douglas Comish spent months interviewing
refugees hiding in China, then writing the story of their daily
struggle to survive.
Proposes Human Rights Law in Japan Diet
member, Masaharu Nakagawa, has sponsored a parliamentary bill
addressing current problems with North Korea, including the long-standing
issue of North Korea's abduction of Japanese citizens. Full text
of the draft bill is quoted.
Looming Over 2008 Beijing Olympics
Jan. 12, 2005, a group of men in plain clothes burst into a
press conference being held by four South Korean lawmakers,
harrassing attendees and speakers, and refusing to identify
themselves. This report also includes the official statement
by the lawmakers after the attack.
Held at Chinese Embassy, Consulate in Japan
Three Japanese organizations demonstrated on Dec. 22nd to protest
Chinese repatriation of North Korean refugees. The protests, which
took place before China's embassy in Tokya and the Consulate in
Osaka, attracted about 45.
TV Airs Interview with LFNKR Foster Children
boy, about 15, lies dead on the street. All his belongings are
gone." So begins the documentary. See how NK street children
live, how they scramble to survive. And learn what LFNKR does
to protect and educate some of them. Watch this 16-min. video
online (English subtitles).
Refugee Park Yong-chol Repatriated
Kim Bong-soon brings news from her imprisoned husband in China
that North Korean refugee Park Yong-chol was secretly repatriated
from the Chinese prison to North Korea in October this year after
serving most of a 2-year sentence.
Activities -- What We Accomplished in 2004
aid to North Korean defectors hiding in China. More help for our
dozens of foster children. And changes in our activities because
of the shifting political realities in China, North Korea, and
other interested nations.
Lawmakers Receive Update on LFNKR Activities
During our two days in Seoul, we visited more than 60 Grand National
Party (GNP) members of the Korean National Assembly. We sought
their support for NK refugees and their help in gaining the immediate
release of Mr. Choi Yong-hun, who has now served 22 months of
a 5-year sentence for assisting NK defectors.
Protest Aid Worker Imprisonment
Read the text of a postcard mailed by Grand National Party members
of the National Assembly, South Korea. The card was addressed
to the Chinese Ambassador stationed in South Korea.
Korean Holocaust Exhibition in Seoul
was held from November 8 - 10, 2004, at the National Assembly
Members Building in Yeoido, Seoul, The exhibition included hundreds
of photos, letters, diaries, models, and artifacts from refugees.
Over the past ten years, many have risked their lives to collect
Government Siezes More Refugees
Officials raided two NK refugee safe houses in the Tong
Chow section of Beijing on October 26th, and arrested 65 NK refugees
who were waiting to be rescued, along with 2 South Korean human
rights workers. Among them were 11 teenagers and one man aged
U.S. Congress Passes Bill to Aid North Koreans
(PDF Doc; 17 pages)
Both houses of the U.S. Congress unanimously passed The North
Korea Human Rights Act, then on 18 Oct. 2004, the president signed
it into law. It provides useful new tools to help both those who
flee the North Korean regime and those who are trapped inside
Boy Escapes NK Prison, Relates His Story
an email from a boy from North Korea, now hiding inside China
somewhere. The activist who forwarded his note to us said, "I
have read many stories of the NK refugees, but this may be the
worst. It made me physically sick."
Seekers Arrested inside American School
Monday, September 27, eight North Korean women and children
entered the Elementary school building of the Shanghai American
School, where school administrators called Chinese Police, then
surrendered the refugees to the authorities....
Korean refugees, after their arrest in Shanghai, were deported
to North Korea, where they face likely death. They are the two
sons and a niece of Mrs. Shin Jung Ae, as well as the second son’s
wife and two children, aged 2 and 7.....
Seek Sanctuary in Japanese School
was a quiet midmorning in Beijing when a group of North
Korean refugees, including 3 children, 15 women, 11 men, made
their way into a Japanese school. Once inside, they requested
asylum and safe passage to a third country....
Yong Hun Not Receiving His Mail in Prison
Wife and two daughters visit NK aid worker. She reports:
"Before we were allowed to enter the prison, guards inspected
every item we had brought for my husband. They even ripped open
cigarette packages. Eventually, they let us carry in only the
medicines we had brought....
Prison Camp Book Goes to National Libraries
Letters of thanks are coming in from national libraries who received
the book of eyewitness accounts related by NK Prison Camp survirors.
Electronic PDF version also available to download from this website...
Back From China Imprisonment
9:00 PM - 9th August: Takayuki Noguchi walked through the arrival
gate at Narita Airport, after an 8-month prison sentence for helping
two Japan-born North Korean refugees. At an impromptu news conference...
Conference on NK Refugees
The First International Planning Conference for the Rescue of
North Korean Refugees and Humanitarian Aid Workers hosted by the
Japanese and Korean NGO Coalition was held in Tokyo on 18-19 July
2004. The 2-day Conference developed action items to promote international
awareness of North Korean refugees and humanitarian aid workers...
Foreign Ministry Betraying its Citizens?
to the predicament of Takayuki Noguchi, a Japanese citizen detained
overseas, Japan's Foreign Ministry, though charged with defending
its citizens, has sided with Chinese officials, who claim that Noguchi
is guilty of breaking Chinese laws...
Sentenced to 8 Months
of Takayuki Noguchi, a member of the Japanese NGO Life Funds for
North Korean Refugees (LFNKR), was held At 10 AM 28 June 2004 at
Chong Zuo Intermediate People’s Court in Nanning, Guangxi
Spends Life in Hiding, Finally Shot to Death
he was 20, and that he attacked the guard. Now we learn that he
was 17 years old and running away. Photos of Chol-hun's short, tragic
Gets Rare Sunday Trial
The trial of
Takayuki Noguchi, the Japanese aid worker arrested by China last
December, was convened at 9:00AM Sunday, May 9, China time in Chong
Zuo Intermediate People's Court. The time, which seemed chosen to
minimize public attention...
Korea Freedom Day Rally in Washington DC
On April 28, people from both Asia and the US converged on Washington
DC to attend the North Korea Freedom Day Rally. Journalists and
news crews from the major networks...
May Face Hurry-Up Trial in China
The trial of Takayuki Noguchi, the Japanese aid worker arrested
by China last December, will take place in early May, reports Yomiuri
Shimbun, the leading Japanese newspaper, in a 2 May article by a
Hong Kong based reporter...
US Report on NK Refugees (PDF Document
- 7 pages)
In June 2004, Joel R. Charny of Refugees International spent one
week in Jilin province in China interviewing 38 North Korean refugees.
They live, Charney found, a precarious and clandestine existence
as illegal migrants...
Refugee Killed by Chinese Border Guard
A 20-year-old North Korean defector was reportedly shot and killed
on 2 April when a group of 24 defectors were stopped while attempting
to cross the border from China into Mongolia...
Eyes North Korea Human Rights
(PDF Document - 7 pages)
The United Nations on 15 April passed a resolution on the DPRK expressing
serious concerns aboiut human rights in that country. They established
a UN Special Rapporteur...
Solidarity Alerts EU to NK Prisoner
Park Yong-chol may die very soon after his release from prison in
China. If he is repatriated to North Korea (which is standard procedure),
to Prosecute Noguchi
He was attempting to help the two refugees because their lives would
likely be in jeopardy if they were repatriated to North Korea...
Look Into China's Illegal Jailing of Japanese Citizen
On 2 April, 2004, our group, Life Funds for North Korean Refugees
(LFNKR), submitted to the Human Rights Protection Committee of the
Japan Federation of Bar Associations a statement urgently calling
for the rescue of victims of human rights violations...
Strike Spreading Among Detained NK Refugees
According to The Commission to Help North Korean Refugees (a South
Korean based NGO), news reports are beginning to filter out of China
about a hunger strike among North Korean detainees who are being
held in a facility preparatory to their shipment back home where
they are sure to face prison or worse...
demonstration was held at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo,
by our group jointly with another NGO. This demonstration was
in response to the hunger strike by North Korean refugees ...
Read more here
Lawmaker Versus China
lawmaker Masaharu Nakagawa, member of Japan's House of Representatives
was in China March 22-25 to survey the human rights situation
there, and to inspect Nanning he prison where Takayuki Noguchi,
a member of this Japanese NGO, has been held since Dec. 10
on Political Prisoners
the witnesses' statements here
Aid Worker Still Held by China
Conference in Tokyo on Feb 22
Conference in UK Parliament on Feb 11
Refugees Freezing to Death?
Read more here
Hunger Strike Spreading
Among Detained NK Refugees
Read more here
Jae-hyun (picture below)
Suddenly Released from Jail
after serving 14 months of a 2-year term
the full story here
Two Workers Tried, Convicted
Dec. 11, 2003 a Chinese court utterly ignored pleas
from the International community and its own country's
pledge to uphold the Convention on Refugees.
court sentenced aid worker Choi Yong-hun to 5 years
the same time, photojournalist Deok Jae-hyun received
a sentence of 2 years in a Chinese prison.
crime of these two men? Helping their fellowman. Read
the background details below.
Statement - Feb. 13, 2003
should join the international community to resolve
the issue together
the entire statement here.
China, despite repeated requests from other governments
and human rights and other international organizations,
continues to arrest and detain North Korean defectors
as well as the humanitarian aid workers trying to assist
China shows no signs of stopping. Instead, it
has intensified the crackdown, arresting and repatriating
North Korean refugees, who face severe punishment for
treason, up to and including the death penalty, under
the laws of North Korea, when handed over to their own
on the 58 Arrested Refugees
Appeal Proceedings to be Closed
Letter from Aid Worker's Daughter
Face 2nd Session May 22
Aid Worker Trial
Hardly Noticed by Press
to China Justice Ministry
Aid Workers May Face
The Jan. 21 Press
China Must Protect Asylum
List of Refugees
Statement by Sang Hun
Statement by MSF
Chronology of Events
Boat People Update
- March 28
to China's Hu Jintao
Petitions UNHCR - July 28
US Senator to China: Release Aid Workers
more here (This is a PDF document)
North Korean Freedom Coalition News
the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives have introduced
versions of a bill (titled the North Korean Freedom Act)
that would grant clear refugee rights to North Koreans fleeing
their homeland to seek refuge and freedom. Download PDF versions
of these two Senate documents. Read
more details and download the documents here.
Repatriation Survivors Speak Out
Names & Info
Wife of Choi Yong-hun Visits Him in Chinese
Call for Help
Letters You Can Mail to
is an urgent need for interested parties
to mail letters of protest to China's officials regarding
that country's mistreatment of legitimate refugees
and humanitarian aid workers. International agreements
are being openly flouted.
Arrested, Beaten in Public
Still Punishing Humanitarians
Must Not Forget
7 Refugees Arrested
on August 26, 2002
North Korean refugees were taken into custody while attempting
to request political asylum at the Chinese Foreign Ministry
a year ago. Click here to read more
Additional background information on the North Korean Refugee
issue. To download this 71-page
PDF document RIGHT
Japanese Lawmaker Forms World Group
Started in April 2003
of Legislators to Help NK Refugees
On April 16, 2003, the inaugural general meeting
of IPCNKR (International Parliamentarians' Coalition
for the North Korean Refugees and Human Rights)
was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in central Seoul.
Masaharu Nakagawa, Japanese lawmaker attracted
legislators from 5 countries to join in founding
Read the full report here.
story, IPCNKR, the new international action group formed
by legislators from 5 countries suggests building a refugee
camp in a third country to shelter NK defectors.
Read about the group's objectives.
Life Funds for North
Representative: Kato Hiroshi
A-101 Nishi Kata Hyteru
2-2-8 Nishi Kata, Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo, Japan 113-0024
Tel / Fax +81-3-3815-8127