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.


For immediate release

6 February 2004


10 AM Wednesday 11 February
Committee Room W1, Parliament
Chaired by David Drew MP

A recent kidnap attempt on the North Korean defector who handed Mr Kim documentary evidence of chemical weapons testing on North Korean prisoners confirms North Korea’s desperation to cover up the extent of its human rights abuses.

The details of this kidnap attempt will be given at the press conference.

Mr Kim Sang Hun received these documents before this kidnap attempt and as one of the foremost human rights experts and activists on North Korea in the world, he appeared on the recent BBC2 programme Access to Evil: This World (broadcast on February 1).

He attests to the authenticity of this document showing that North Korea is transferring political prisoners from camps for chemical experimentation. He has helped over a hundred North Koreans escape by reaching embassies in Beijing and through other Asian countries and has also personally interviewed hundreds of North Koreans. He is highly active in campaigning for refugee status for North Koreans and for the release of aid workers in China. In 2003 he was honoured in Time Magazine Asia as an Asian Hero.

Mr Hiroshi Kato is Secretary General of the Japanese organisation Life Funds for North Korean Refugees, one of the most active groups helping North Koreans in China. Mr Kato was himself detained and mistreated by the Chinese who threatened to send him to North Korea and deny all knowledge of him if he did not co-operate.

His colleague Mr Takayuki Noguchi was arrested in December 2003 in China with two North Koreans. The Chinese authorities have said he may face a sentence of up to ten years. As North Koreans in previous cases involving Japanese aid workers have been repatriated, Mr Noguchi is refusing release unless the North Koreans are allowed to travel to a safe third country.

Mr Kim and Mr Kato will speak and answer questions on the situation facing North Koreans and aid workers in China and the situation in North Korea itself. In the run up to the new six way talks on North Korea, they will be emphasizng the need for the international community to address the dangers the regime poses to the North Korean people as well as to the outside world. They will also be available for interview during the rest of their visit to London from Tuesday 10th to Friday 13th February.

Please let us know if you plan to attend the press conference or would like to arrange separate interviews by contacting

……… Richard Chilvers, communications manager, CSW
……… 020 8329 0045 or
……… 07776 135169 or
……… email
……… visit

A picture of Mr Noguchi is available.


The desperate conditions in North Korea have prompted numerous North Koreans to make the difficult journey across the border to China.

However, once in China they face different horrors. Lacking legal status, they are highly vulnerable to criminal elements and exploitative employers. Women are often sold into prostitution or as brides, at times unwittingly. Once ‘married’ the man considers her his property and may keep her under lock and key, abusing her physically and sexually, even renting her out or selling her on to other men.

Tragically these women have few alternatives. They have nothing to escape to. If they go to the police, or are turned in by their husband, they will be sent back to North Korea. The Chinese policy of repatriating North Koreans results in returnees facing torture and cruel imprisonment. Those who have been in contact with missionaries or South Koreans are subject to especially harsh treatment. Christians are likely to be executed or sent for life to hard labour camps.

A number of eyewitness accounts report that women who are found to be pregnant by Chinese men are subject to forced abortion where this is possible or, where the pregnancy is more advanced, are kept in detention until they give birth, when their baby is them smothered to death in front of them.

Despite the harshness of the Chinese line towards the refugees, there are aid workers and missionaries who risk their own safety to shelter North Koreans. Moved by compassion they provide shelter and food to protect those arriving in China from such dangers.

However, China is determined to eliminate the refugee situation and has staged a severe crackdown.

Part of the strategy is to destroy the network that provides humanitarian care to the North Koreans. Thus, China has placed bounties on the heads of aid workers in the area and arrested and sentenced many who have sheltered and escorted escapees.

China is in breach of its obligations under the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. This goes beyond flagrant violation to even punishing those who provide the protection that it is obligated to guarantee.

In December 2003 the Chinese authorities arrested Mr Takayuki Noguchi of the Japanese humanitarian organisation Life Funds for North Korean Refugees. Mr Noguchi, 32, who is responsible for international relations for the organisation, is being held in Nanning Prison in Guangxi in China.

Two North Koreans were arrested with Mr Noguchi. One is a woman in her 40s who was born in Tokai Region, Japan and taken to North Korea by her mother. The other is a man in his 50s who was born in West Japan and moved to North Korea in the early 1960s. Mr Noguchi has been anxiously pleading for intervention to secure the protection of the two refugees from repatriation.

A spokesman for the Chinese Government publicly stated that the investigation is ongoing and that Mr Noguchi could be subject to a sentence of up to ten years imprisonment.

Alongside concerns about abuses by the Chinese, human rights groups including CSW are deeply concerned about the widespread and systematic human rights violations occurring in North Korea. There are believed to be more than 100,000 people in prison camps inside North Korea.

Among the many violations of basic rights are the systematic use of torture and the use of arbitrary and brutal imprisonment, characterised by violence, extreme deprivation, starvation food rations, intense forced labour, frequent accidents and disfigurement and high death tolls.

Further grave sources of injustice are the lack of due process, the regular use of arbitrary and public execution and the punishment of whole families for the crime of one family member.

The severity of the repercussions against individuals and their families mean that North Korea has largely succeeded in silencing reports of the atrocities committed within its borders.

Alongside this, the extreme isolation and secrecy of the state has prevented the flow of information out of the country, while restricting freedom for external monitors to enter and assess the country.

More information on Life Funds for North Korean Refugees, including the full text of their press statement is available at .