Category Archives: Human Rights Abuses

LFNKR Protests Nagano Olympic Torch Relay

LFNKR joins protesters at Nagano Olympic Torch Relay

Nagano Japan, April 26:

The Olympic torch relay was carried out under high security as 3,000 policemen stood at high alert. The heavy guard was posted to protect relay runners from intruders throwing raw eggs and tomatoes, but it also kept away interested citizens. Many of those attending were asking “Is this a peace festival? Aren’t the Olympics supposed to be a symbol of peace and friendship?”

Join the North Korean Freedom Week Events

Update from Suzanne Scholte
of North Korea Freedom Coalition

Dear Friends:

I am pleased to send another update on the events confirmed for North Korea Freedom Week April 26-May 3, 2008. 

Please note that since my last update we have added several additional events: another panel session, a special demonstration by Youth for Truth and as a testament to the importance of North Korea Freedom Week, the producer of the soon-to-be-released movie Crossing, Patrick Cheh, is coming to show a special screening of this movie that is scheduled for threatrical release in South Korea in June.  

China Hunting Down Refugees, Aid Workers Ahead of Olympics

Crackdown Intensifying

With the Olympics only months away, Hu Jia, an HIV-rights activist, has been arrested by the Chinese authorities for subversion. According to those involved in the case, on December 27 2007, about 20 police officers served Hu with a warrant at his home in Qufu, Shandong Province, then arrested him. For 30 days after his arrest, his mobile phone was not working.

Letter to China’s Hu on Behalf of 4 NK Prisoners

From North Korea Freedom Coalition

His Excellency Hu Jintao
President, People’s Republic of China
c/o His Excellency Zhou Wenzhong
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20008

Dear Mr. President:

Japan’s 2nd Annual NK Human Rights Public Awareness Week

Special Report on Events in Japan

The second annual North Korean Human Rights Public Awareness Week took place during Dec. 10th through 16th, 2007, as set forth in Japan’s “North Korean Human Rights Act,” which was enacted in June 2006. The many events held included government-hosted events, as well as international conferences and symposiums. 

Hurry-Up Trial in China for NK Activist

Trial Set for Monday, Nov. 26

Your quick help is needed – Please immediately write to the Chinese authorities listed below, urging them to release the very brave North Korean activist, Yoo Sang-joon, who is now a South Korean citizen. He tragically lost his young son as he tried to escape from China and has since been working to rescue other North Koreans from danger in China.

Demonstrations Planned to Save North Korean Refugees

Protests Planned Worldwide

Suzanne Scholte of the North Korea Freedom Coalition writes:

Please remember the International Protest Against China’s Violent Treatment of North Korean Refugees will be occurring around the world at noon on November 30 and December 1 at Chinese consulates and embassies.  We need everyone to join and support these events as the situation in China is worse than ever for North Korean refugees.

Human Trafficking Victim – Choi Chong-mi

Name:            Choi Chong-mi
(Female, Name changed for safety)
Birth date:    1969
Hometown:   Hamgyong Bukto

It is an unending nightmare. I don’t know how to begin telling everything that has happened to me. It will probably sound like fiction to you. When I was two years old, following the death of my father, I was taken in by four aunts and an uncle. My cousins were like my parents, sisters and brother.

Proposed Action Plan for 2007-2008

Life Funds for North Korean Refugees, NGO

Strained Relations

The crackdown on North Korean refugees by both the Chinese and North Korean governments has drastically cut the flow of North Koreans into China, reducing it to levels below those of the past decade. China’s official position is that North Korean refugees do not exist, a stance that blatantly ignores international law, including the Convention on the Status of Refugees, to which it is a signatory nation.

Escapee from North Korea Sold as Slave to a Sex Chat Site

First, Banished to the Middle of Nowhere for Watching a South Korean Movie

Hwang Miryon, 19
Former Chongjin University student

(Name changed to protect her safety)

My family was relatively well-off even in Chongjin, but in August 2005 we were suddenly struck by misfortune, something we could never have imagined. It all started when a family with whom we were friends was arrested on charges of watching a foreign film. An acquaintance of the wife was arrested by the “109 Brigade” and before we knew it they had come for us as well.

US Deputy Special Envoy Addresses Bangkok Conference

Christian Whiton addresses the Bangkok International Conference on the North Korean Human Rights Situation.

Christian Whiton Addresses
The Conference on North Korean Human Rights

It’s an honor to be here at the Bangkok International Conference on the North Korean Human Rights Situation. I would like to thank all of those who have made this conference possible. We are here to discuss and draw attention to an issue of great international and moral importance—the plight of the North Korean people, and steps that those of us in the free world can take to aid them, and in so doing, further the cause of peace and security in North East Asia. 

Photos of Bangkok Conference on NK Refugees

Human Rights Issues Discussed

Over 170 participants plus 20 international journalists and media people packed the conference hall of the Ambassador Hotel Bangkok. These are photos of several of the presenters.

LFNKR’s Kato Speaks at 4th General Meeting of International Lawmakers

Kato Hiroshi urges "Protect North Korean Refugee Human Rights"

“Protect North Korean Refugee Human Rights”

This organization’s Secretary General, Kato Hiroshi,addressed the 4th annual meeting of International Parliamentarians’ Coalition for North Korean Refugees’ Human Rights (IPCNKR). Representatives totalled 111 and came from 36 different countries at this year’s conference, which was held in Japan. 

International Conference on North Korean Human Rights

September 17-21, 2007
2-Day Conference in Thailand
Followed by 3-Day Tour

OVERVIEW

Sept. 17-18, 2007 – First day closed to the public
Sept. 19-21, 2007

Field trip to border area (Thailand-Laos-Myanmar) where North Korean defectors often cross into Thailand.
Visit with Thai abductee.

Girl, 17, Tells of Two Years in Sexual Slavery

The Fate of a Young Girl
Kim Chun Hwa was an 11-year-old girl when she first arrived at LFNKR’s Shelter JRD-01. It was February 2001 and threatening to drop to below minus 20 degrees. Chun Hwa’s mother was from Musan, North Korea, in North Hamgyong Province. Musan sits directly across the Tumen River from this small Chinese farming village. Chun Hwa’s quick intelligence and bright smile made a lasting impression. 

Abandoned Children in China

Many Problems Confront Children of North Korean Mothers and Chinese Fathers

The international community has grown uncomfortably aware, over the past decade, of the many problems confronting North Korean defectors. The most urgent of these include capture by Chinese police and forced repatriation, as well as the need to find a way to a safe third country such as South Korea for resettlement.

Photos from International Symposium in Tokyo

Speakers included LFNKR's Kato Hiroshi (right) and beside him, Diet member Masaharu Nakagawa.

Speakers included LFNKR’s Kato Hiroshi (right) and beside him, Diet member Masaharu Nakagawa

During the International Symposium on North Korean Human Rights held in Tokyo December 10th through 16th, our organization, LFNKR, hosted two of the events.

International Symposium on North Korean Human Rights

Public Awareness Week

In June 2006, the North Korean Human Rights Law was established in Japan. This law specifies December 10-16 as the North Korean Human Rights Week and resolves that both governmental and regional institutions shall put forth efforts to increase public awareness of human rights violations by North Korea.

Chinese Border Guards Videotaped Shooting Religious Pilgrims

China Still Violating Basic Human Rights

As a citizen’s group deeply involved in human rights, Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR) has long called for more rapid improvement of human rights in China.

At the end of September, for example, Chinese border guards were videotaped firing upon a group of Tibetan pilgrims, including nuns and juvenile priests. At least two of the pilgrims were killed, prompting growing criticism of China by the international community.

Open Letter to Ban Ki-moon

Faxed to ROK Permanent Mission at United Nations


October 19, 2006

His Excellency Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary General-Designate and
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Republic of Korea
c/o The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations
335 East 45th Street
New York, New York 10017

Dear Foreign Minister Ban:

We, the undersigned, are gravely concerned for the human rights of the North Korean people, and we have also been following the news of your selection to be the next United Nations Secretary General with great interest. Allegations that the North Korean government has engaged in large-scale crimes against humanity will be among the U.N.’s great moral challenges in the coming years, and the institution’s moral authority will depend on how it responds to those challenges.

Family of Jailed Humanitarian Worker Struggling

Kim Bong-soon, wife of jailed humanitarian aid worker Choi Jong-hun

Kim Bong Soon’s Letter

Hello, I am Kim Bong Soon, the wife of Choi Yong-hun.

My husband was arrested by the Chinese police in January 2003 for helping North Korean refugees and was sent to prison for 5 years. Today, he remains confined in the Weifang Prison, Shandong Province, China after serving 46 months of a 60-month sentence. He suffers from worsening chronic diabetes, hypertension, and asthma because of the poor living conditions in the prison.

Video Reveals Prisoner Beating

Guard beats female prisoner

Guard beats female prisoner

On 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. The footage was widely reported by the media the next day, including newspapers and television broadcasters in Japan and South Korea.

UN Working Group Calls Arrest Arbitrary

The 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 of the 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.

U.S. Congress Passes Bill to Aid North Koreans

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 the country.

(Click here to download this 17 page PDF document)

NK Prison Camp Book Goes to National Libraries

The book "Are They Telling The Truth?" is a collection of heart-rending accounts from NK prison camp survivors.

In late July 2004, LFNKR donated paper-bound copies of the book, Are They Telling The Truth? Brutality Beyond Belief, to the national libraries of several nations in North America, Europe and Asia. The book is a collection of heart-rending accounts from NK prison camp survivors. 

NK Refugee Killed by Chinese Border Guard

Chinese border guard on horseback fired on unarmed NK refugees

Reports have reached our organization that a 20-year-old North Korean defector was shot and killed on 2 April when a group of 24 defectors were stopped while attempting to cross the border from China into Mongolia.

Six members of the group, all men, succeeded in reaching Mongolia. The 17 defectors arrested include a 2-year-old child and a woman six months pregnant. The defectors have begun a hunger strike, insisting on relocation to a third country.

UPDATE: Two Aid Workers Tried, Convicted

Is China Really a Part of the International Community?

On 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. That court sentenced aid worker Choi Yong-hun to 5 years in prison. At the same time, photojournalist Deok Jae-hyun received a sentence of 2 years in a Chinese prison. The crime of these two men? Helping their fellow man. Read the background details below.