Tag Archives: life funds for north korean refugees

Update – 3 Ladies Who Defected

 Steady Progress in 3 Careers

Here are three young ladies whom LFNKR has helped resettle in Japan, and updates on their progress as they work toward establishing new careers.

beauticianMs. E has worked a number of different jobs, and eventually she decided to become a beautician.  So, after she gained her Japanese high school diploma via correspondence, she took the entrance exam for a famous beautician’s college in Tokyo, which of course she passed.  She tells us that she is looking forward to learning this new skill. She is confident that by becoming a beautician her expertise will enable her to help those who need encouragement and others who may need their spirits lifted through her skills.

A Whole New Look

Website Facelift

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 But time marches on – especially on the Internet – and the very newest thing can be superseded very quickly by technology that works better, faster and more transparently. 

2014 Annual Report

2014 Annual Report Overview
Date: November 29, 2014
 

From 17th Gen. Meeting Oct. 19, 2014

Introduction
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.

Tokyo Bar Association Awards Human Rights Prize to LFNKR

Kato Hiroshi, executive director of LFNKR, speaking at awards event

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.

Global Festival in Tokyo Proves Popular

A Global Festival to commemorate the global citizenship of every person on earth

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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). 

Report from a Refugee Who Made It Back

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. 

International Protest Slated for April 28, 2007

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.

Letter of Appeal to Prime Minister of Thailand

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.

3 NK Orphans’ Letters Released to News Media

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 Exhibits at NGO Festival in Osaka

LFNKR booth at One World Festival

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.

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.

Joint Appeal Sent to UNHCR on 7 in Thailand

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
Geneva, Switzerland

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.

Refugee Rescue Activities – 2005

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.

In-Depth Overview of NK Refugee Issues

Tim Peters of Helping Hands Korea addresses a Joint Session of NGOs and Lawmakers from 4 Nations

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. 

Film “Seoul Train” Screened

Film maker Jim Butterworth speaks about North Korean refugees

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 Refugee Park Yong-chol Repatriated

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.

NGOs, Lawmakers Receive Update on LFNKR Activities

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. 

Asylum Seekers Arrested inside American School

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.

29 Seek Sanctuary in Japanese School

Beijing, China

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.

Int’l 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 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.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry Betraying its Citizens?

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.

Noguchi Sentenced to 8 Months

OFFICIAL STATEMENT
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.

Noguchi 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 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.

China to Prosecute Noguchi

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.

Lawyers Look Into China’s Illegal Jailing of Japanese Citizen

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.

Hunger Strike Spreading Among Detained NK Refugees

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.

Report on European Support for Aid Worker Noguchi

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.

UK Press Conference on North Korean Issue

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.

Mother visits Noguchi in Chinese Jail

Takayuki Noguchi

Takayuki Noguchi

Takayuki Noguchi before prison

Noguchi before priso

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.

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.