Three orphans being held in a jail in Laos

These three orphans managed to escape from North Korea, make their way through China, and were then arrested by Lao police. Here, they await processing before release to South Korean authorities.

Two foster children play in one of our shelters

These two orphans can finally relax and enjoy being off the streets and receiving an education. Each LFNKR member may sponsor an orphan or abandoned child being cared for in one or another of our shelters, sending financial help, encouragement and support.

A traditonal cherry blossom viewing party

North Korean refugees, now resettled in Japan, get together with LFNKR members to celebrate the coming of cherry blossoms and the first hint of spring in Tokyo.

Tokyo Bar Association Recognizes LFNKR

Life Funds for North Korean Refugees was awarded the Human Rights Prize by the Tokyo Bar Association

Former North Korean refugees wed

A refugee couple, one a former foster child and the other a recent defector from North Korea, have married. They invited Mr Kato and Ms Watanabe of LFNKR to stand in as parents.

13 year-old street child with severe burns

LFNKR, working jointly with a South Korean NGO, helped this kot-jebi (street child) receive urgently needed medical treatment after he lost both feet to the combined effects of frostbite and severe burns.

Kato Addresses Thai University

Main Gate of Chiang Mai University

Thailand’s Chiang Mai University Invites First-Ever Lecture on North Korean Refugee Issue

On Jan. 23, 2009, Mr. Kato Hiroshi, Executive Director of Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR) presented a lecture on the North Korean human rights and refugee issue at Chiang Mai University. Chiang Mai University (CMU), with about 17,000 students, is the largest university in Northern Thailand.

American Peace Worker Honored in Seoul

Suzanne Scholte Wins Seoul Peace Prize

FROM WALL STREET JOURNAL ASIA
September 10, 2008

North Korean human-rights abuses often go unnoticed, especially by South Korea, where past governments have preferred to ignore the brutal nature of the Pyongyang regime to the north. The awarding of the Seoul Peace Prize to American Suzanne Scholte last week therefore marks a welcome change.

LFNKR’s Kato Addresses Int’l Conference

Kato Hiroshi Speaks to International Conference

Speakers included: Willy Fautre (Human Rights without Frontiers, President); Vincent Brossel (Reporters without Borders); David Hawk (human rights investigator and advocate and author of “the Hidden Gulag”); Chuck Downs (US Committee for NK HR); and Hiroshi Kato (Life Funds for North Korean Refugees).

Text of Kato Hiroshi’s Speech

It is my privilege and honor to present this speech here at the North Korean Human Rights Campaign 2008

Our main purposes at Life Funds for North Korean Refugees are: first, to provide humanitarian aid and protect the human rights of North Korea defectors in China and Southeast Asia; and second, to reach out to people in North Korea with food and medicine.

Out of 100,000 North Korean refugees hiding out in Northeastern China, about 70-100 are under LFNKR’s protection as of July 2008.

In my opinion, the worst form of human rights violation is human trafficking. The number of human trafficking victims is not yet clearly known, but we estimate the number to be more than 70% of all defectors. An investigation conducted in the villages where our shelters are located showed that 10-20% of all villagers are North Korean women who have been sold to Chinese men in the village. Out of 60,000-70,000 women defectors, at least half are of childbearing age.

Babies between Han Chinese and ethnic Koreans will reach 30,000-35,000, most of whom are unregistered.

The youngest victim of human trafficking I have met was 8 years old at the time she was sold. She was brought up in an ethnic Korean family in Heilong City, Jilin Province, but was sold for 1,500 RMB to an ethnic Chinese man at the age of fourteen. She gave birth at the age of 19. After the baby was born, she was sold again by a broker to a different man, and unfortunately I do not know where she is now. Girls being sold by a broker after childbirth are now very common to see.

The price of women varies: usually 5,000-10,000 RMB (approximately $500-1,000 US dollars), for girls up to the age of 20; 3,000-5,000 RMB (or $300-500 US dollars), for up to the age of 30; 2,000-2,500 RMB ($200-250 USD) for up to the age of 40 with a child; and 500-1,000 RMB (or $50-100 US dollars) for children.

However, this year, the price has increased. A woman in her 20s is sold at the price of 20,000 RMB because the number of female North Korean defectors is decreasing. North Korean women seem hesitant to escape the country due to the crackdown operation for the security of the Beijing Olympic Games, as well as forced repatriation that entails serious threats to life upon being returned to North Korea.

The trafficking of North Korean women goes back to 1985 when it was not yet as systematic. It was mere match-making organized by a broker for a rural Chinese man who could not marry in an orthodox way. At that time, the Chinese government welcomed them, and there was neither arrest nor forced repatriation. (But this has now become an organized business-like activity.)

Young women from three provinces in Northeast China that were excluded from China’s open economy reform policy started to move to the Southern China Economic Zone, Japan and Korea to find work. As a result, the female population in these rural areas has decreased considerably. The demand for North Korean women naturally became greater. The role of young North Korean women in replacing ethnic Chinese women was considered significant. The brokers taking advantage of the situation started to appear during this time and it became more organized and business-like.

In the late 1990s, the food rationing system of North Korea collapsed.

North Koreans seeking food started to escape to China, and from 1997 there was a massive influx of people from North Korea into China.

Ethnic Koreans in China provided their starving brethren with food and clothing. However, due to some people trying to take advantage of the goodwill of these ethnic Chinese, and an increased crime rate, the Chinese government started to strengthen the policy concerning North Korea defectors.

In 2000, trafficking of North Korean women became more serious. More women had risked their lives escaping to China and fell into the clutches of brokers. The reports made by staff members in charge of our shelters outlines many of these cases.

The Chinese police, in secret communication with the North Korean National Security Agency, has prosecuted these women who are illegally married to rural Chinese men. If a woman who had a child at the time of marriage is prosecuted, then the child no longer receives any protection and becomes an orphan. The child usually survives by helping with farming, taking care of cows in return for room and board.

The children of North Korean women sold to Chinese men face a bleak future. An infant can choose neither his or her own country nor parents. A mother has no choice but to sell herself.

Because the stay of these women is illegal their children are also stateless. They are not Chinese and not North Koreans either. They have no right to education or anything else. They have no human rights and are staying illegally. These children are languishing in extreme poverty.

Early last year, the mother of 5-year-old Kim Yong-soon was arrested and repatriated to North Korea. Her crime? Leaving the starvation in North Korea and seeking survival in China.

But once this young woman had escaped North Korea six years ago, she was quickly sold into a forced marriage to a Chinese man, and just as quickly became pregnant. This is how she came to give birth to daughter Kim Yong-soon. The daughter, Yong-soon is now being supported under LFNKR’s foster parent program.

Our people, the LFNKR local staff in China, reported to us that it will be impossible for her to return again, since this is her third repatriation.

You know, you have to wonder why it is that Chinese government policies show no mercy to families. They callously tear them apart, separating mothers and children with no regard to human feeling.

In Yanji, Longjin, and other cities near the border between China and North Korea, the two countries have intensified their joint crackdown.

North Korean authorities provide Chinese security police with information on North Korean defectors, and the Chinese police follow up relentlessly. These police personnel are highly motivated — their government is paying high bounties. For each North Korean refugee they arrest, someone puts 2,000 RMB in their pocket. That bounty payment equals the monthly salary of most university graduates in China.

Over the years, human rights NGOs, International organizations and foreign governments have made numerous appeals. They have asked the government of China about this issue of North Korean defectors in China.

The Chinese government has ignored these appeals. In fact, they have never bothered to respond at all, and meanwhile they continue to forcibly return North Korean refugees to face the certainty of brutal persecution in North Korea. This is an obvious and blatant defiance of humanitarianism. The Chinese government clearly has no interest in what the international community thinks.

UNHCR’s appeals to the government of China are always ignored. Beijing has also ignored the appeals of the South Korean government on behalf of aid workers arrested for helping North Korean refugees.

The two lessons to be learned from past incidents are these: first, China responds only to a strong show of force. And second, the last thing that works with the Chinese government is an appeal to humanitarian consideration. China is submissive to the stronger, but shows no mercy to the weaker.

The North Korean defectors are in a position of strength when they are in the custody of foreign embassies and weak if they are outside the custody of a strong power.

I now publicly issue a call to all South Korean activists and North Korean defectors. From this moment forward, I urge you to direct your efforts to collecting evidence, testimony and information that provides full details for the international community in general and the UN Special Rapporteur, in particular.

In addition, we all should take this occasion to acknowledge, with profound thanks, all the efforts that have led to successfully exposing North Korean Crimes against Humanity. We can be proud of the widespread call for justice that was demonstrated by the passage of the North Korea Human Rights Act in the US Congress, the series of resolutions adopted by the UN, among many others, and the resolution on human rights in DPRK, which the UN General Assembly approved last December.

As a next step, I would like to see the UN Security Council raise the issue of creating an International human rights investigation team to be dispatched to North Korea. I do recognize, however, that the chances of that happening are quite slim with Russia and China on the Council. They are very likely to block any such efforts.

Since North Korea’s crimes are of the most serious nature, we cannot just stop here. I suggest that we approach the International Criminal Court by presenting hard evidence, verified information and solid proof. Obtaining this kind of evidence and proof from inside North Korea is definitely a realistic possibility because, in recent years, many North Korean officials have grown increasingly demoralized as they face mounting personal danger in the ongoing power struggles.

We should redouble our efforts now toward obtaining undeniable and credible information from inside North Korea — information that is so strong and so convincing that it must be taken to the International Criminal Court.

In closing my speech today, and with your permission, I wish to personally call upon the entire international community to intervene decisively in the North Korean situation. It is a matter of international responsibility — clearly so.

Let us, therefore, create a living reality that some day all innocent North Korean prisoners, as well as all South Korean and Japanese abductees, will know for a fact that they were never for a single moment forgotten by the people of the world.

Thank you.

Activist Tim Peters Receives Human Rights Award

Activist Tim Peters

From: Norwegian Mission to the East

The prestigious Stephen’s Prize this year will go to a Christian activist who assists North Korean refugees in China. Mr. Peters will receive the prize from the Norwegian NGO “Norwegian Mission to the East” for his pioneering and courageous work for these refugees, helping them find safe refuge and freedom. Mr. Peters will come to Oslo in early November of this year to receive the prize.

Movie ‘Crossing’ Wins High Praise

"Crossing" - the Movie

It also Raises Valid Questions

Based on a true story, the Korean movie “Crossing” took four years to complete. Until the movie was publicly announced in March this year, the entire project was kept under tight security, including all filming done in South Korea, China, and Mongolia. “Crossing” focuses on the reality of life in North Korea and the flood of defectors leaving the country. The secrecy was necessary because there were fears that pro-North Korean elements in South Korea might sabotage the project.

NK Spy a Modern-Day ‘Mata Hari’

Woman Seduces Officials, in Search of Secrets

Recently, the Japanese media has been full of coverage of a “North Korean Mata Hari,” a woman posing as a defector who slept with numerous South Korean military officials in order to gain military information for the North. The woman, Won Jeong Hwa, 34, was reportedly ordered by North Korea’s Public Security Force to spy on defectors, including Hwang Jang-Yop, the high-ranking former Workers’ Party Secretary who defected to South Korea.

NK Defector Escapes China after 14 Years

Mother Was Japanese

The following is the true story of a daughter born in North Korea to an ethnic Korean father from Japan and a Japanese mother. Her parents had married in Japan, then moved to North Korea where the daughter was born. Neither the Japanese mother nor her daughter ever reached Japan. Would things have been different if they were Labor Party members?

Update on NK-China Border Situation

Pass Permit Issuance Suspended in NK 

In April, the North Korean government stopped issuing pass permits for North Koreans to enter China. Because of this, many North Koreans who have entered China, seem to be staying there even after their pass permits expire. This means that they are now illegal immigrants – defectors – and if arrested, they will be repatriated. As a matter of fact, according to a local LFNKR staff member in China, many North Korean defectors have already been arrested and sent back.

Former Foster Child in LFNKR Shelter Now a Mom

Baby Soe-hee was born in April 2008.

LFNKR’s “Grand Daughter”

It’s fun when we get to report good news. Last month, a baby girl, named Soe-hee, was born to one of LFNKR’s former North Korean orphans who attended our education sponsorship program after escaping from North Korea into China. Baby Soe-hee was born in April 2008.

Follow-up Visit with Orphans Held Last Year in Laos

The Choi children, one year later, with Kato Hiroshi and Kim Sang-hun, a South Korean humanitarian aid worker.

World Outcry Freed Them from Custody in Laos

Last year 3 North Korean orphans fleeing China were being held in a jail in Vientiane, Laos. When Kato Hiroshi visited them last year, the boy was sick from the stress of being in jail. At that time, Kato encouraged the three, a boy and two girls, telling them “Don’t worry, I promise to get you out of here soon.”

NK Refugees Tell of Stricter Border Security

June 2008

Since its founding in 1998, LFNKR has been supplying food, clothing, and medicines to needy people in North Korea and to North Korean refugees who have fled into China.During the period from April 28 to May 10, 2008, LFNKR supplied through its local network one ton of rice and 80 first aid kits to needy people in North Korea and also to North Korean defectors hiding in China.

Letters from NK Refugee Kids in Hidden Shelters

Refugee child in one of LFNKR's shelters writing to foster parent in Japan.

June 2008

LFNKR recently received letters from several of our foster children who are currently in first to third grades of elementary school. These children are being supported under LFNKR’s education sponsorship program. In their letters to their foster parents, the children mainly report on their school records.

Bicycling Campaign Across Europe for NK Rights

Call for Volunteer Participants

LFNKR is joining the bicycling campaign hosted by Justice for North Korea. The campaign is to publicize the North Korean human rights issue and bring it to the attention of Europe. To maximize the impact of this campaign, we are calling for as many participants as possible. Those who wish to ride bicycles may do so, but that is not a requirement. Buses will accompany the riders, so it will be possible to ride bicycles on only selected segments of the route (or only one). Some participants may elect to ride the bus only.

LFNKR’s Kato Speaks Out on Government Policies

On April 2, 2008 in Korea…

Kato Hiroshi, Executive Director of Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR), was invited by Korea Christian University to speak at its international conference. His speech was entitled “International Refugee Policy and Intervention & Training Plans for Specialized Social Workers.” The following is the script of the speech he presented at the conference on April 2, 2008.

U.S. Senator Nixes Ambassador Nominee over NK Human Rights

U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (R. Kansas)

US State Dept. too Soft on Kim Jong Il?

United States Senator Sam Brownback (R. Kansas), a long-time champion of North Korean refugees and their human rights, gave an impassioned speech from the Senate floor outlining his reasons for putting a hold on the nomination of Kathleen Stephens as ambassador to South Korea.

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 Raises Bounty on NK Refugees 1600%

A year’s Pay for One NK Defector

Stories of a shocking new development are just beginning to leak out of China. The government there has just raised the stakes in the human rights issue now coming to a boil. While the world’s attention is focused on the uproar in Tibet, other important developments are quietly taking place in the shadows.

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.

NK Eyewitnesses Describe Winter Nightmare

Conditions Along Chinese-NK Border as of January

According to Kim (40), who runs one of our organization’s shelters on the Chinese-North Korean border, 118 North Korean defectors sought shelter between November 18 and December 25, 2007. During the winter, food and winter clothing are the biggest problems for North Korean citizens. Most defectors are dressed lightly in summer wear and without socks. This is unbearable in the Yanbian region, when the Tumen River is already frozen and the temperature falls to -20C at night.

Report on Foster Parent Programme

A Look Back — A Look Forward

Although it seems like only yesterday that Life Funds for North Korean Refugees started its Foster Parent / Education Programme, it was actually begun back in 1998. The intervening ten years have seen the Kim Dae-Jung and Roh Moo-Hyun administrations’ Sunshine Policy and policy of engagement of North Korea turn into de facto support for the Kim Jong Il regime. However, with the February election of the hard-nosed, pragmatic Lee Myung-Bak administration, the relationship between South and North looks set to change to one of reciprocity.

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.

Sample Letter of Protest

To the President of China

Dear President Hu Jintao,

The international community continues to watch in horror as the Chinese government tracks down and deports North Korean refugees in advance of the upcoming Beijing Olympics. This practice is a stain on the face of China. We urge you to immediately cease arresting and repatriating North Korean refugees.

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.

Human Trafficking Victim – Lee Sun Ja

Name:                 Lee Sun Ja
(Female, Name changed for safety)
Date of Birth:  1981
Hometown:      Hamgyong Bukto, North Korea

When I was three years old, my parents suddenly disappeared. Nobody knows if they died or if they were sent into a concentration camp for political prisoners. My step-parents treated me worse than a beast. I was hardly fed daily, so I grew up as a beggar. Since I remained a Kot-jebi (street child) until I escaped into China, I never had a chance to go to a school. In North Korea, while I was living the Kot-jebi life, I begged but I also broke into houses to steal from time to time.

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.

Report on LFNKR Activities in FY 2006

Annual Activities Report

It is now obvious that North Korean defectors are being widely recognized and accepted as a legitimate issue by the international community. According to the resolution unanimously passed by the UN General Assembly last December, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea has been urging the North Korean government to correct its serious infringement of human rights and to allow the rapporteur entry into the country to investigate human rights there.

Two Former NK Refugees Now Happily Wed

By Midori Yotsuya, LFNKR Member

It was Aug. 30, just after the 4th General Meeting in Seoul of IPCNKR (International Parliamentarians’ Coalition for North Korean Refugees and Human Rights). We headed to a small hotel to meet some of the foster children that LFNKR had formerly supported under our education sponsorship plan. They had all lived together like a family for several years at the same LFNKR shelter in China after fleeing from North Korea. Some of them are now young adults in their early twenties.

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. 

LFNKR’s Kato Speaks on Human Trafficing of NK Women

Kato Hiroshi, of LFNKR, speaks on human trafficking of NK women

Speech by Kato Hiroshi, Executive Director
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees

Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor for me to be here today and I would like to thank The Committee for the Bangkok International Conference for North Korean Human Rights for giving me the opportunity to say a few words on behalf of Life Funds for North Korean Refugees.

Human Rights Activist Kim Sang Hun

Sang Hun Kim, International Human Rights Volunteer

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. 

Appeal to National Human Rights Commission of Thailand

Presented on Behalf of North Korean Refugees Detained in Thailand

INTRODUCTION

We are a group of human rights organizations and activists based in Thailand, Japan, Korea and other countries. We have just attended the International Conference in Thailand, September 17-21, 2007, on the North Korean Human Rights Situation. The Conference has reviewed the situation of North Koreans in Thailand along with addressing other related issues.

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.

I Was a Political Prisoner at Birth in North Korea

Shin Dong-hyuk describes his youth in a prison camp

My Family Background

My North Korean name is Shin In-kun (South Korean name: Shin Dong-hyuk). I was born on 19 November 1982. I was a political prisoner at birth in North Korea.

According to what I know from my father, Shin Kyong-sop, he was born in 1946 in the village of Yongjung-ni in Mundok District, South Pyongan Province, near Pyongyang, North Korea. He was the 11th of 12 brothers. It was in 1965, when he was only 19 years old, that great tragedy struck his family. 

US Lawmakers Call for Boycott of Beijing Olympics

US Lawmakers Introduce Legislation

Legislation was introduced in the U.S. Congress by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46th) and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Joseph Pitts, Thaddeus McCotter, John Doolittle, Dan Burton, Frank Wolf, and Chris Smith, calling for the U.S. government to take steps to boycott the Beijing Olympics unless the Chinese regime stops its human rights abuses against its own citizens and other nations. 

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. 

Save North Korean Refugee Flooding Victims

Further Famine Expected

News media worldwide are reporting on the recent flooding in North Korea and the widespread damage it has caused. Effects from the flood have begun to seriously impact the area in China bordering North Korea, where many of LFNKR’s rescue activities are based. 

Outline of North Korean Human Rights Act

I. Aims

This law, building upon the “Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea)” passed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16th 2005, and taking into consideration the human rights violations committed by North Korea, which are of pressing importance to Japan, including abductions, which require the cooperation of the international community to resolve, while at the same time recognizing the importance of increasing public awareness of North Korean human rights issues, aims to clarify the North Korean human rights situation and deter human rights abuses in cooperation with the international community.

Japan Needs Refugee Settlement Program ASAP

Special Report by Kato Hiroshi

Shock waves rocked Japan recently when four North Korean defectors sailed into Funaura port in Aomori Prefecture (northeastern Japan) in a seven-meter wooden boat whose top speed was just 10 knots . The arrival of the four family members on Japanese shores from Chongjin, 850 km away, after ten days at sea, was nothing short of miraculous. 

NK Defector Couple Face Death… or Life

Special Field Report

One of LFNKR’s local staff members went to Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, in the Jilin Province of China recently to interview a couple who, in hopes of reaching Japan, had decided in early 2007 to escape from North Korea. The husband and wife (names are not disclosed for their protection) were just children when their parents, ethnic Koreans born in Japan, moved to North Korea, expecting to find the “Paradise on the earth” that was being touted in a widespread campaign to attract immigrants. The husband had been 6 years old and his wife only 1 year old when their parents made the move. 

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.

IPCNKR 4th Annual Conference to Be Held in Seoul

The International Parliamentarians’ Coalition
for North Korean Refugees’ Human Rights
(IPCNKR)

Organized by the International Parliamentarians’ Coalition for
North Korean Refugees’ Human Rights

The 4th General Meeting of IPCNKR will be held in Seoul, Korea from August 28 (Tuesday) to August 30 (Thursday). 

Street Beggar’s Ambition: Start a Business

Street Child (Kot-Jebi) Tells His Story  
Just as I was coming out of a North Korean restaurant, I noticed a small boy, who appeared to be a beggar, following me. I was in Yanbian on business, and it was May 15 of this year. The boy suddenly stepped in front of me and said, “I’m from North Korea. Please help me.”

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. 

3 NK Orphans Headed for Classes in So. Korea

3 orphans held in Laos jail

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.

2 Tons of Rice Distributed to Poor in Hamgyong

This report is by Kim Hong-son, one of LFNKR’s local staff members. He writes:

In February of this year, I passed through the Chinese customs office at Kosong and headed for North Korean customs. Passing through Chinese customs took a mere 30 minutes, but on the North Korean side it took over three hours. The reason for this is the North Korean customs inspection process, which begins with a verification of relatives living in North Korea, and involves a full-body search in addition to an inspection of the goods being brought into the country.