The North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC), an international coalition working for the freedom, human rights, and dignity of the people of North Korea, observed Human Rights Day in an act of advocacy directed at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. But you can observe it, as well, by participating in the suggested actions at the end of this post.
According to an NKFC press release on Tuesday, December 10, 2013, the group sent a petition signed by over eight thousand people from all over the world to President Xi Jinping, calling upon him to end China’s forced and violent repatriation of North Korean escapees. This policy has led to “has led to the torture, imprisonment and death of thousands of North Korean citizens and humanitarian workers,” the press release continued.
“It is fitting that these petitions are submitted on Human Rights Day, the day we recognize the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said NKFC Chairman Suzanne Scholte. “North Korea is the only country in the world denied every single one of these universally recognized human rights, which is why so many try to escape. This problem will only continue under the brutal dictatorship of Kim Jong Eun.”
The petitions came from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Indonesia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom including England, Ireland and Scotland, United States of America including Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.
The NKFC, of which the IRD is a charter member, also presents the human faces behind the numbers of the suffering North Koreans in THE LIST, a compilation of incidences when North Korean refugees were repatriated and humanitarian workers were killed for trying to help them. On Human Rights Day the NKFC has updated THE LIST with the most recent tragic stories of those “whose lives China has put in grave danger,” in the words of Scholte.
Six individuals were chosen out of the hundreds on THE LIST in the NKFC press release to demonstrate the horror faced by North Korean refugees and humanitarian workers. You can read their stories on THE LIST, but here is a short description of who they are. Given to North Korea and to probable death, these six are:
Jo Sung Hye, arrested and forced back to North Korea when she legally applied for asylum at the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Chung Soon-Ae, captured while trying to escape with her family. She is the mother of young escapee Jang Gil-su, who became famous when his art work depicting the horrific conditions in North Korea was published in South Korea and by the U.S. media.
Noh Yea-Ji, a 15 year-old girl, one of 9 North Korean orphans who escaped to Laos but were sent back to North Korea through the treacherous actions of the Laotian and Chinese governments.
Kang Sung-Il, a North Korean escapee who had become a South Korean citizen. He traveled to China to obtain video footage taken by another escapee, from Yoduk, a North Korean prison camp and it is believed he was seized by North Korean agents in China.
Han Man Taek, South Korean POW who had been held in North Korea since 1953. He escaped, at age 73 in 2004, but was forcibly repatriated by the Chinese government.
Rev. Kim Dong Shik, a Korean American who was abducted from China in 2000 while sheltering refugees and helping them get to South Korea.
Here’s what you can do right now:
1. Sign the online petition to the Chinese Government. The NKFC has delivered one set of petitions, but will continue to press this issue with the Chinese government.
3. Pray for the people of North Korea. Why not use THE LIST as a guide for specific prayer?
4. Get involved in other ways suggested by the NKFC.