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PRESS RELEASE: HRNK Calls on President Obama to Raise with President Xi Jinping of China the Protection of North Korean Refugees
June 04, 2013

Click here for the letter to Xi Jinping. 

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C., calls on President Obama in his upcoming talks with President Xi Jinping, to urge China to halt the forcible repatriation of North Korean refugees.  Only last week, nine North Korean teenagers attempting to find their way to freedom were arrested in Laos and forcibly repatriated by China to North Korea, where they are certain to be subjected to persecution and punishment.

HRNK also takes the occasion of President Xi’s visit to the United States to release the text of a letter it sent to him May 7. The letter calls upon China to adopt a “new approach” toward North Koreans escaping into its country, one in line with China’s obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and international human rights law.  

HRNK’s letter was  signed by The Honorable Winston Lord (former U. S. Ambassador to China and HRNK Board member), together with HRNK co-chairs Roberta Cohen (former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights) and Andrew Natsios (former USAID Administrator), and Greg Scarlatoiu, HRNK executive director. The organization is still hopeful of receiving a reply.
The letter called upon China to adhere to the fundamental refugee principle of non-refoulement and set up a refugee determination process for North Koreans in cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It called for new legislation incorporating China’s obligations under the Refugee Convention; and for a moratorium on deportations until China can ensure that North Koreans will not be returned to conditions of danger.  It called upon China to cooperate with other countries ready to admit North Koreans. It warned that “China’s continued deportations of North Koreans despite [international] appeals, and its collaboration with North Korea’s police in tracking down escapees, has cast an unfortunate shadow over the reputation of the People’s Republic.” The new President, it noted, had the opportunity to change this by embarking on a new policy based on "the rule of law."

HRNK was established in 2001 by a distinguished group of former U.S. government officials, Korea experts, and human rights and humanitarian specialists deeply concerned about the “grave, widespread and systematic human rights violations” reported in North Korea. It seeks to draw attention to human rights conditions in North Korea by publishing well-documented reports and papers, convening conferences, testifying at national and international fora, and seeking creative ways to end the isolation of the North Korean people. 

The letter addressed to President Xi Jinping is attached to this message. HRNK’s reports and more detailed information on our activities are available on HRNK’s website: www.hrnk.org

Contact: Greg Scarlatoiu, executive.director@hrnk.org; 202-499-7973


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

In this submission, HRNK focuses its attention on the DPRK’s—  1. System of political imprisonment, wherein a multitude of human rights violations are evidenced, including enforced disappearance, amounting to crimes against humanity.  2. Restrictions on freedom of movement, affecting women in particular, as evidenced in sexual violence, human trafficking, and arbitrary detention.  3. Policy of social and political discrimination, known as “so

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Robert Collins and Amanda Mortwedt Oh
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This paper draws on existing research and Robert Collins’ previous work to explain the ideological basis and institutional structure of the Kim regime’s rule of terror, with an emphasis on the political prison camps. It is intended to provide a brief overview of how North Korea’s party-state controls every individual’s life from the cradle to the grave through relentless indoctrination, surveillance, and punishment. Specifically, it seeks to answer the following questions: What so

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David Hawk with Amanda Mortwedt Oh
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In this book, David Hawk provides never-before-seen imagery of labor re-education camps, both suspected and confirmed. He reveals a parallel network of prisons controlled by the DPRK’s Ministry of People’s Security (An-jeon-bu). These revelations suggest the imposition of degrees of suffering even more pervasive than the UN COI described in 2014. Although these labor camps might be described as “ordinary prisons”, there is nothing “ordinary” in the treatment of those i

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Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Andy Dinville, and Mike Eley
Nov 29, 2016

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Greg Scarlatoiu and Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.
Sep 16, 2016

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