Category Archives: United Nations
On the Human Rights Situation in North Korea
February 6, 2016
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in January of this year despite the suffering of its people. Although North Korea claims that it was a hydrogen bomb, questions remain due to the nature of the seismic activity associated with the blast.
The North Korean government announced that the hydrogen bomb test “firmly protects the sovereignty of the country and the dignity of the nation…and reliably safeguards the peace on the Korean Peninsula and regional security” and even now is going ahead with missile launches.
Happy New Year
From Hiroshi Kato, Executive Director,
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees
Wishing all of you health and prosperity in the New Year
It appears that North Korea has succeeded in establishing a three-generation political dynasty. However, the UN has passed resolutions condemning the North’s human rights abuses, calling them grave, widespread, systematic abuses that amount to crimes against humanity. The UN General Assembly has passed a resolution critical of the DPRK with the support of 119 countries.
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
Submission for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
UN Lays Open NK Human Rights Abuses
On February 7, 2014 the United Nations released a 36-page report produced by its Commission of Inquiry based upon many hours of eye witness testimony detailing human rights abuses in North Korea. The report is titled “Report of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”
From 16th General Meeting. Oct. 20, 2013
LFNKR, in FY2012 (Sept. 1, 2012 to August 31, 2013), has witnessed improved awareness in the international community with respect to the North Korean human rights issue. The International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK), was established in Sept. 2011. This organization, which includes 43 international NGOs in 15 countries, is engaged in lobbying activities. The ICNK group in Japan, of which LFNKR is also a member, has repeatedly visited Japanese Diet lawmakers and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) as well as a number of foreign embassies in Tokyo.
Witnesses Tell of Gross Cruelty
The chief of a UN inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea was “moved to tears” by witness testimony revealing “gross human rights violations”.
According to BBC reports, retired judge Michael Kirby said that the inquiry had gathered “copious evidence” of rights abuses in North Korea.
to Hold Public Hearings in UK And US
COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA
GENEVA, 17 October 2013 – The United Nations-mandated commission investigating the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will begin next week a series of public hearings in the United Kingdom and the United States aimed at gathering information from witnesses on rights violations alleged to have occurred in the Asian nation.
UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea held hearings in Seoul Korea from August 20th through 24th, then reconvened in Tokyo to hear from further witnesses related to Japanese citizens impacted by North Korea’s actions. Michael Kirby chaired the Commission. Streaming video lets you hear all testimony.
On August 29 and 30, an official Commission of Inquiry (COI) public hearing was held at the UN University in Tokyo. The following speech was presented by Mr. Hiroshi Kato, the executive director of Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR).
Then, in parallel with the official hearing, three members of the UN Commission of Inquiry quietly visited the LFNKR office to hold a private, closed-door interview. Click here for an outline of the public hearing.
Reuters Reports on Revelations
We at LFNKR are glad to report that real results are beginning to flow from the U.N. Commission of Inquiry into North Korea human rights violations and whether those violations amount to crimes against humanity. We reported, back in May, that the Commission had been convened and was about to start its investigations.
Kim Jong-un, First Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea,
Chairman of the National Defense Commission
Letter Dated: May 7, 2013
We, the undersigned human rights NGOs of Japan, without political, religious, or economic motives, met in Tokyo on May 7th to review the decades long, systematic, widespread, and grave human rights violations in North Korea, which are documented in the publications listed below, as well as multiple other sources of information.
Groups Present a United Front
LFNKR hosted on May 7, 2013 a press conference in the Diet Members’ Building in Tokyo, which was attended by representatives from several other NGOs also engaged in the North Korea human rights issue. The event was covered by journalists from NHK, Kyodo News, Mainichi Newspapers, One Korea Daily News, Mindan (Korean Residents Union in Japan) Newspaper, and The Wall Street Journal.
The efforts of LFNKR, as a member of the ICNK (International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea), have helped lead to establishment of a Commission of Inquiry (COI), which is now ready to begin its investigation. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution establishing on March 21, 2013 a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate the grievous human rights violations in North Korea and to determine whether those violations amount to crimes against humanity.
Refugees Need Immediate Help
Since Feb. 8, more than 30 North Korean refugees have reportedly been arrested and held by Chinese police in Shenyang, Yanji and Changchun. Most of these refugees wish to go to South Korea where their family members have resettled. One of them, a teenage boy, has siblings in South Korea but no other family members in North Korea.
The new currency system initiated in November 2009 by North Korea has led to serious confusion in the country’s economy. As a result, poverty continues to deepen. Around November 2010, even in Pyongyang where relatively privileged people live, the supply of food has stopped. The currency revaluation slashed the currency to 1/100 of its previous value, but by March 2011, the price of rice per kilogram had risen to 1800 NKW. This is the same price it was before currency reform, and it indicates a complete failure of the government’s plan to suck money from its citizens.
Application for ECOSOC Status
Report Submitted to Human Rights Council
Resolving the various human rights issues related to North Korea requires the understanding and cooperation of the international community. With this in mind, Life Funds has recently been working to build and deepen ties to the United Nations.
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.
Mr. Kim’s Speech:
Chairperson, Distinguished Members of the International Community of Human Rights NGOs and Activists, Respected Members of News Media, Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to thank you for your interest in the human rights disaster that North Korea has created, and for the innocent victims it has created.
“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.
Three to Four Months of Orientation Ahead
The three young North Koreans who were imprisoned in Laos were charged with illegal entry into and exit from the country and given three-month sentences. After completing their sentences in the capital Vientiane, they remained in custody because as minors, they needed a guardian but none was forthcoming.
From Suzanne Scholte, North Korean Freedom Coalition
Below is a list of the public events being held the week of April 22-29 to promote the freedom, human rights and dignity of the North Korean people. At the bottom of this page you will also find an invitation to Defense Forum Foundation’s Forum on Capitol Hill with North Korean Defectors on Friday, April 27. North Korea Freedom Week is just a few days away! Please help us promote attendance at these events by spreading the word.
Memorial shot together with Maisai Immigration vice director and members of Fact Finding Mission in front of Maisai Immigration Police Building.
From February 25 to March 1 of this year, Life Funds for North Korean Refugees was part of an international fact-finding mission to Thailand, the purpose of which was to ascertain the current situation of North Korean refugees in Thailand. To this end, we met with the Bangkok office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the immigration police at Maesai (near the Laos/Thai/Myanmar border), and Thai human rights lawyers, as well as North Korean defectors and some of the activists assisting them in Thailand.
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.
7 NK Refugees in Thailand Awaiting UNHCR Action
The following appeal was sent to the High Commissioner today jointly by our group (LFNKR) and Tim Peters’ Helping Hands Korea NGO.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
20 September, 2006
As you probably have been informed, seven North Korean refugees, all women, have presented themselves to the police authorities in Nong Khai, a border town in Northern Thailand, at 09:00 hrs. Monday, 18 September in accordance with Article 31 of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which prohibits, among other things, the imposition of penalties on refugees based on their illegal entry to a third country.
175 NK Refugees Still Need Help
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR) has jointly submitted the following Appeal to the Immigration Authorities of Thailand.
We urge you to send another letter to the Thai Ambassador in your country requesting that these refugees be safely released to South Korea or other country where they will be safe from repatriation to North Korea.
No Early Release in Sight
Even though the United States recently accepted 6 North Korean refugees, marking a dramatic change in the situation of North Korean refugees, nothing has changed for Choi Yong-hun, the South Korean Humanitarian aid worker. He still sits in a jail cell in China, after having served 3 years and 4 months of a 5-year sentence. He is still being punished for his attempt to help North Korean refugees in China.
Report Submitted by By Kato Hiroshi, Secretary-General, LFNKR
Here is the script of the speech I presented at the second International Conference on NK Human Rights “The Seoul Summit, Promoting Human Rights in North Korea,” held on Dec. 8-10, 2005 at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul, Korea.
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.