Tag Archives: life funds for north korean refugees
Steady Progress in 3 Careers
See anything different? Silly question, right? You’re probably already noticing the new look. Here at NorthKoreanRefugees.com we’re in the process of changing our site’s appearance. Starting today, we’re sporting an entirely new, more streamlined style.
The old look was a very new look back in 2002, when we first launched this site. But time marches on – especially on the Internet – and the very newest thing can be superseded very quickly by technology that works better, faster and more transparently.
Date: November 29, 2014
From 17th Gen. Meeting Oct. 19, 2014
As a member of the ICNK, LFNKR has been actively working with other international NGO members to help the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate North Korean human rights violations. Primary activities include providing investigation materials, as well as related North Korean and Chinese written laws and regulations, testimonies by previous detainees at the notorious death camps and their relatives, public hearings of North Korean defectors and nonofficial interviews with North Korean defectors.
Kato’s Speech Text
Honored members of the human rights awards screening committee of the Tokyo Bar Association, and ladies and gentlemen gathered here today, I would like to express profound thanks to the esteemed Tokyo Bar Association for presenting the human rights awards for 2008. We at Life Funds for North Korean Refugees are deeply honored to receive your award this year.
Almost Eighty Thousand Attend
A Global Festival to commemorate the global citizenship of every person on earth was held for two days in Tokyo, beginning on Oct. 6, which is designated International Cooperation Day. The event was hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
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.
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.
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 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.
The International Parliamentarians’ Coalition
for North Korean Refugees’ Human Rights
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).
No One Said Fitting into Japanese Society Would Be Easy
Mr. Park went to North Korea with his family when he was four years old. The family went to Onson County in North Hamgyong Province, where they were assigned to a coal mining operation. Then, in 1999, he fled to China to escape the food shortages and starvation that had plagued the country throughout the 1990s. Park found, however, that life in China was very hard due to his illegal status. One employer made off with Park’s wages, leaving him without a single yuan and in despair.
To Save North Korean Refugees
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR) urges each person reading this to take part in the International Protest against China’s Violent Treatment of North Korean Refugees. This Protest, led by NORTH KOREA FREEDOM COALITION, is scheduled to be held all around the World on April 28. North Korean refugees who escape into China seeking food and freedom immediately encounter a new problem – the constant fear of arrest and repatriation by Chinese authorities.
Protest of Extreme Overcrowded Conditions
Letter from LFNKR to the Prime Minister of Thailand.
26 April, 2007
Dear General Surayud Chulanont:
We, at Life Funds for North Korean Refugees(LFNKR), wish to convey our profoundest gratitude and respect to the people and Government of Thailand for humanitarian assistance extended to the North Korean defectors in Thailand in past years.
North Korean Orphans Plead for Help
The three letters quoted below were written by three desperate North Korean children who are now in the Vientiane Jail in Laos. They are very aware of the risk of repatriation back to North Korea. The letters show their anger and their confusion over the situation but at the same time, reveal how desperate they are with their appeal for help.
LFNKR’s Booth at One World Festival
More than 100 NGOs and NPOs in Japan joined the One World Festival held for two days at Osaka International Communications Center (Feb. 3rd and 4th). Many groups participated in the event under the theme “Bringing the world closer through education, interaction and mutual assistance.” The groups are working to help resolve today’s global issues of environmental destruction, poverty, repression of human rights, ethnic conflict, and refugees. Approximately 12,600 guests visited the exhibition during the 2-day event.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tim Peters, Founder, Helping Hands Korea
I am very honored to address this joint conference that brings together a wide range of NGO’s and the Inter-Parliamentarian Coalition for North Korean Refugees and Human Rights that includes distinguished representatives of Japan’s House of Councilors and House of Representatives, U.S. Congressmen, the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, representatives of the State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia and the Parliament of New Zealand.
Jim Butterworth’s Documentary of Conscience
Thank you very much. First, I would like to thank the IPCNKR for this opportunity to show “Seoul Train” here today, but especially for your outstanding efforts to improve the human rights of North Koreans. It is indeed an honor to be here before such an esteemed audience and alongside other speakers that are truly heroes in this cause.
NK Defectors Still Being Denied Right to Live
We were shocked to learn a few months ago that Choi Yong (male), a Japan-born North Korean, was executed after being repatriated. He was one of the two Japan-born North Koreans whom Takayuki Noguchi (of our organization) tried to help escape from China in December last year.
China Claims 62 NK Defectors Not Repatriated Yet
Beijing officials are denying media reports that they repatriated 62 North Korean defectors. South Korea’s Joong Ang Daily stated on Nov. 12 that China is denying earlier news reports of returning the 62 to North Korea. Authorities in Beijing are reportedly claiming that the defectors are still undergoing processing prior to repatriation at a detention center near the border with North Korea.
Chinese police take women and children away
On Monday, the 27th of September, 8 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.
Below is an email our organization received directly from an eyewitness at the school, describing what happened. That message is followed by a statement apparently issued by the school administrator.
On Wednesday, the first of September 2004, at around 10:30 AM, a group of 29 North Korean refugees, which included 3 children, 15 women and 11 men, entered a Japanese school in Beijing, and requested asylum.
That same afternoon, all refugees were transferred to the consulate section of the Japanese embassy, where they are being protected. In previous cases, once refugees are handed over to Chinese authorities, within a few days they are repatriated to North Korea, where they face severe punishment and in a few extreme cases, summary execution.
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 and 19 July 2004. The two-day Conference, organized by three Japanese NGOs (The Society to Help Returnees to North Korea, RENK, and Life Funds for North Korean Refugees), attracted approximately 100 participants from 9 NGOs and 6 countries.
Ignored Requests to Attend the Nanning Incident Trial
On June 28, 2004, the second (sentencing) phase of Takayuki Noguchi’s trial was convened at the Intermediate People’s Court in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Noguchi, a member of the Japanese NGO Life Funds For North Korean Refugees, was sentenced to eight months in prison and fined 20,000 yuan (260,000 Japanese yen; US $2,778) under Articles 321 and 61 of the Chinese Domestic Criminal Code, which deals with illegally transporting people with the intent of crossing the Chinese border, and attempting to assist in an illegal border crossing.
For Press Conference 28 June 2004
The sentencing of Takayuki Noguchi, a member of the Japanese NGO Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR), was held At 10:00AM June 28, 2004 at Chong Zuo Intermediate People’s Court in Nanning, Guangxi in China.
Noguchi was charged with one count of illegally transporting people with the intent of crossing the border (Article 321 of the Chinese Domestic Criminal Code) and an additional count of attempting to assist in illegally crossing the border (Article 61). He was sentenced to 8 months in prison and fined 20,000 RMB (about US$2,778). All his personal goods, including 340,000 yen in cash (about US$3,148), a video camera, and a cellular phone were also confiscated.
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 seemed deliberately chosen to minimize public attention. Noguchi was technically given an “open trial,” but Chinese authorities avoided announcing the trial date to the media or to LFNKR, though this information had been repeatedly requested.
On the 118th day following his arrest, charges were filed against Takayuki Noguchi at the intermediate people’s court in Nanning, China on April 5.
Noguchi’s prosecution was confirmed by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Noguchi, a member of the NGO Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR) is the first Japanese to be arrested and tried for attempting to rescue two Japan-born North Korean refugees hiding in China.
Human Rights Protection Committee Receives LFNKR Statement
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.
Reports Indicate New Spirit of Protest
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.
Europe showing more concern for North Korean Refugees
Our group’s secretary general, Mr. Hiroshi Kato, and Mr. Sang Hun Kim, prominent South Korean human rights activist, returned from Europe where they met with leaders of several institutions. During their visit they met strongly positive responses, thanks to direct help from Christian Solidarity Worldwide and Human Rights Without Frontiers, who organized the meetings.
To be held In Parliament Wednesday, 11 February
Christian Solidarity Worldwide has scheduled a press conference in UK to be held at 10:00AM on Wednesday Feb. 11.
In addition, to foster greater support among EU influence centers to encourage the immediate release of the Korean and Japanese aid workers still detained in China, Mr. Hiroshi Kato, General Secretary of Life Funds For North Korean Refugees, andMr. Kim Sang Hun, a Korean humanitarian aid worker, are visiting influential political and NGO leaders in EU.
Below is the news release from Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
Ever since Takayuki Noguchi was arrested illegally by China in early December 2003, fears have mounted that he could be tried and sentenced to prison time, unlike previous aid workers who had been caught helping North Korean refugees, interrogated then released.
However, thanks to the intervention of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Noguchi’s mother and one of his aunts were allowed to visit him briefly in Nanning.
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.