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HRNK Brief
Your July Brief 2017
August 02, 2017




HRNK Briefs are a series of reports collected by our interns from relevant panels, conferences, and events to deliver timely and useful information to the North Korea community of interest. This is a monthly effort to update HRNK supporters on current events and policy considerations surrounding North Korea. 

Last month, we prepared reports on nine different events in Washington DC and Seoul.

Here is what you need to know:

Human Rights
American Leadership in the Asia Pacific (July 12, 2017)


From left to right: Ambassador Robert King, HRNK Board Member, Derek Mitchell, Murray Hiebart.

On July 12, 2017, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hosted a hearing on American leadership in the Asia Pacific focusing on democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. The witnesses’ primary concern was that an American withdrawal would enable China and undermine democratization efforts in Asia. Speakers concurred that reform in North Korea is difficult and must come from within. Ambassador Robert King, who sits on HRNK’s Board of Directors, was one of the witnesses. He reminded the Committee of the human rights atrocities being perpetrated by the Kim regime and offered five policy recommendations.


Meridian International Center Student Visit (July 17, 2017)

Rosa Park with a group of students from the Meridian International Center

On July 17, 2017, HRNK Director ​of Programs Rosa Park welcomed a group of students from the Meridian International Center to speak about our mission, research, and programs. During the meeting, she discussed HRNK’s role in uncovering North Korea’s prison camps in addition to our organization’s extensive research on the human rights situation in North Korea.  
UN Human Rights Council: What Is It Good For? (July 25, 2017)

 HRNK Director of Programs Rosa Park (center) with Ted Piccone (far right) and FIA staff members.

On July 25, 2017, HRNK’s Director of Programs Rosa Park also spoke at a Forum on International Affairs panel on the UN Human Rights Council: What Is It Good For alongside Ted Piccone from the Brookings Institution. The discussion revolved around the OHCHC’s efforts to hold the Kim regime accountable for crimes against humanity, and highlighted the discrepancy between North Korea’s “democratic” constitution and kleptocratic reality.

HUFS International Summer Session (July 25, 2017)

​HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu, Ambassador Lee Jung-Hoon, Signe Poulsen, Kim Kwang-Jin, 
Tim A. Peters, HRNK Project Offier Amanda Mortwedt Oh, Jeong Kwang-il, and HRNK Editorial Consultant Raymond Ha.
Amassing Evidence: Applying Information Technology and Forensic Science in Human Rights Documentation (July 25, 2017)
On July 25, 2017, HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu, Project Officer Amanda Mortwedt Oh, and editorial assistant Raymond Ha spoke at the 2017 HUFS International Summer Session in Seoul. During the event, they discussed the human rights situation in North Korea and the way forward after the 2014 findings of the UN Commission of Inquiry revealed crimes against humanity are being committed in North Korea. 
HUFS International Summer Session (July 25, 2017)
On July 25, 2017, the Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG) hosted the international conference “Amassing Evidence: Applying Information Technology and Forensic Science in Human Rights Documentation" in Seoul, during which activists and practitioners from 12 different countries gathered to exchange their visions of human rights documentation worldwide.
10th Anniversary of the Passage of House Resolution 121 (July 27, 2017)
From left to right: Aileen Chung, Congressman Ed Royce, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Former Congressman Mike Honda
On July 27, 2017, the Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues (WCCW) hosted "The 10th Anniversary of the Passage of House Resolution 121," an act which sought to "restore the dignity of World War II sex slaves." Representative Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke alongside Mike Honda, former Member of the US House of Represnetatives from 2001-2017. 
Meeting with Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana​ (July 29, 2017)
HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu (left) and HRNK Project Officier Amanda Mortwedt Oh (right) meet with Special Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana (center) in Seoul on July 19, 2017.
On July 29, 2017, HRNK’s Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu and Seoul Project Officer Amanda Mortwedt Oh met with Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK Tomás Ojea Quintana to discuss human rights trends in North Korea. Mr. Ojea Quintana was in Seoul for a five-day mission to meet with senior members of the ROK Government and civil society groups from 17-21 July. The Special Rapporteur will provide his findings to the UN General Assembly in October 2017. 


North Korea: Have We Reached the Point of No Return? (July 10, 2017)
On July 10, 2017, the Wilson Center hosted a teleconference entitled “North Korea: Have We Reached the Point of No Return?," during which speakers tackled difficult questions surrounding North Korea’s strategic thinking in launching ICBMs as well as potential US retaliation. Specifically, they discussed the Kim regime’s rationale for its nuclear program and what leverage the US can use to respond.
One Korea Forum (July 18, 2017)
On July 18, 2017, the Global Peace Foundation hosted the One Korea Forum, during which speakers presented on "the power of freedom in addressing the divided Korean family" and how such freedom is needed to "empower the voice of North Korean defectors." One main conclusion was that defectors could play an instrumental role in reunification.
What a North Korean Ballistic Missile Threat Means for the US Missile Defense System (July 26, 2017)
Photograph Credit: The Heritage Foundation. From Left to Right: Michaela Dodge, Kenneth Todorov, Bruce Klingner, Austin Long
​On July 26, 2017, The Heritage Foundation organized a panel on “What a North Korean Ballistic Missile Threat Means for the U.S. Missile Defense System." Panelists addressed the difficulty of staying ahead of a nuclear and aggressive North Korea and how Congress can modernize US missile defense to deter the Kim regime’s nuclear program.

The First Trump-Moon Summit and the Future of US-Korea Relations (July 13, 2017)


From left to right: Troy Stangarone, Abraham Denmark, Choi Kang, Bruce Klingner, and Ahn Se Young. 

On July 13, 2017, the Korea Economic Institute of America hosted an event entitled “ The First Trump-Moon Summit and the Future of the US-Korea Relations. ” Featuring panelists from both the US and South Korea, they offered their analyses of the recent June 30th Trump-Moon summit. Panelists agreed that the US and South Korea should coordinate more closely on issues, including THAAD deployment, to effectively deter North Korea.


Economic Levers of US Policy Towards North Korea (July 27, 2017)


"Economic Levers of US Policy Towards North Korea" at Center for a New American Security.

On July 28, 2017, the Center for a New American Security hosted a conference, “Economic Levers of US Policy Towards North Korea.” In his recently published policy proposal, Edward Fishman emphasized that the threat of sanctions is more effective than sanctions themselves, and that the US must be less dependent on UN support to successfully implement coercive sanctions against North Korea.

​Please find a PDF compilation of all event reports here: 

Please note that the views and opinions expressed by the speakers do not necessarily represent the views or official position of HRNK or its Board of Directors. While not verbatim transcriptions, every effort has been made to accurately depict the speakers' presentations and views. Any error or omission is unintentional and will be corrected upon notification and request. These notes are based on events open to a public audience.

About HRNK:
The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), founded in 2001 and based in Washington DC, is a non-partisan human rights organization whose principal objective is to raise international awareness of North Korea's human rights situation through the publication of well documented reports and by undertaking outreach activities in support of the recommendations in those reports. More information about HRNK is available at www.hrnk.org

Copyright © 2017 Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK). All rights reserved.​​

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

From Cradle to Grave: The Path of North Korean Innocents
Robert Collins and Amanda Mortwedt Oh
Nov 13, 2017

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

The Parallel Gulag: North Korea's
David Hawk with Amanda Mortwedt Oh
Oct 26, 2017

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

North Korea Camp No. 25 Update 2
Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Andy Dinville, and Mike Eley
Nov 29, 2016

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 9.0px Helvetica; color: #3f5864} span.s1 {font: 5.0px Helvetica} As part of a joint undertaking with HRNK to use satellite imagery to shed light on human suffering in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, more commonly known as North Korea), AllSource Analysis has been monitoring activity at political prison facilities throughout North Korea. This report details activity observed during the past

North Korea: Flooding at Kyo-hwa-so No. 12, Jongo-ri
Greg Scarlatoiu and Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.
Sep 16, 2016

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a non-governmental organization based in Washington, DC and AllSource Analysis, a leading global provider of high-resolution earth imagery solutions, have conducted a satellite imagery-based rapid assessment of flood damage at Kyo-hwa-so No. 12, Jongo-ri in Hamgyŏng-bukto, North Korea. Thousands of political prisoners are held in this re-education prison labor camp together with common offenders.