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PRESS RELEASE: North Korea’s Political Prison Camp System and the Plight of North Korean Refugees: A Call for Action
October 12, 2012


The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK),

The Simon Wiesenthal Center &

Liberty in North Korea (LiNK)



North Korea’s Political Prison Camp System and the Plight of North Korean Refugees:

A Call for Action


October 12, 2012

The Museum of Tolerance

9786 West Pico Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90035

8:00 a.m.–1:30 p.m.



The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a Washington D.C.-based non-governmental organization which researches and reports on North Korean human rights, will organize a conference entitled North Korea’s Political Prison Camp System and the Plight of North Korean Refugees: A Call for Action. The event, organized in collaboration with The Simon Wiesenthal Center and Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) will take place at The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California, from 8 am to 1:30 pm on Friday, October 12.

Opening the program will be: Congressman Ed Royce, 40th District of California, South Korean Consul General Shin Yeon-sung, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, HRNK Board member and Associate Dean, Simon Wiesenthal Center, HRNK Co-chair Andrew Natsios, and Hannah Song, LiNK President and CEO.

The purpose is to spotlight the political prison camp system in North Korea in which 150,000 to 200,000 are unjustly incarcerated and the obstacles the North Korean people face in trying to leave the country and seek refuge abroad.

Highlights include:

·      David Hawk, presenting the findings of his study “The Hidden Gulag” (2012) about the extensive political prison camp system in North Korea, which the government denies.

·      Blaine Harden, author of “Escape from Camp 14,” talking about his findings.

·      Shin Dong-hyuk, survivor of Camp 14, presenting testimony of his personal experiences.

·      Melanie Kirkpatrick, author of “Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia’s Underground Railroad,” presenting her findings on the harrowing  journey North Koreans must take to cross into China and reach South Korea.

·      Roberta Cohen, Co-chair of HRNK, challenging China's insistence that North Koreans are economic migrants by discussing their reasons for leaving and the punishment to which they are subjected on return.

·      The meeting will hear as well from experts from the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), Dr. Dong-ho Han and Dr. Jung-hyun Choi.

According to HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu, “North Korea continues to be the most reclusive country in the world. Nevertheless, we now know enough to understand the tragedy unfolding in North Korea’s political prison camps and the harrowing plight of North Korean escapees. We know enough to say it is about time for a call for action to dismantle North Korea’s system of political oppression and protect those who are trying to escape it.”

The event will conclude with a book signing by Melanie Kirkpatrick, Blaine Harden, and Shin Dong-hyuk.

THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 A.M. EST WEDNESDAY DEC. 19, 2018. Denied from the Start: Human Rights at the Local Level in North Korea is a comprehensive study of how North Korea’s Kim regime denies human rights for each and every citizen of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). In doing so, this report examines human rights denial policies and practices. Local institutions are responsible for this denial at the schools, housing units, workplaces, and beyon

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