Human Rights in North Korea
Light Through the Darkness: A Forum on Freedom in North Korea
George W. Bush Institute | Dallas, Texas
On November 29, 2016, CSIS Korea Chair Dr. Victor Cha participated in the George W. Bush Institute’s forum “Light Through the Darkness: A Forum on Freedom in North Korea.” The forum brought together important national stakeholders and local community leaders to examine the human condition in North Korea. The event explored the nexus between North Korean human rights and national security and brought attention to new initiatives that support the North Korean people, particularly escapees who have resettled in the United States.
Former President George W. Bush gave remarks at the forum calling North Korea the “greatest sustained humanitarian challenge of our time.” The event comes at a time when there are heightened concerns about the significant advances in North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and increasing focus on the human rights abuses occurring in the country.
A new report titled “Toward a New Policy and Strategy for North Korea" co-authored by Dr. Victor Cha and Ambassador Robert Gallucci was published in conjunction with the event. This report seeks to bridge the gap between the national security and human rights communities and argues for a new U.S. policy that integrates efforts toward dealing with North Korean security threats with approaches that focus on human freedom in the country. Dr. Victor Cha is Senior Adviser and Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Professor and Director of the Asian Studies Program at Georgetown University, and a Fellow in Human Freedom at the George W. Bush Institute. Ambassador Robert Gallucci is a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.
North Korea: The Human Rights and Security Nexus
The CSIS Korea Chair, together with the George W. Bush Institute, Committee For Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), National Endowment for Democracy, and Yonsei Center for Human Liberty, hosted a special gathering of policymakers, opinion leaders, and stakeholders on the topic of North Korean human rights and the nexus with security issues. The conference commemorated the two-year anniversary of the publication of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry's report on North Korea's human rights violations. Featured speakers discussed accountability for North Korean human rights abuses, feature new data and research, examined the link between human and national security, and investigated policy prospects for 2016 as we seek to deepen understanding of the human condition in North Korea and formulate practical solutions.
Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), the George W. Bush Institute, and the Yonsei Center for Human Liberty hosted an unprecedented gathering of policy makers, opinion leaders, and stakeholders on the topic of North Korean human rights to commemorate the one year anniversary of the report by United Nations Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The gathering aimed to carry forward the momentum created by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry report and subsequent UN action.
North Korean Human Rights: The Road Ahead
Related Projects, Multimedia, and Publications
The CSIS Korea Chair cooperated with the George W. Bush Institute’s Human Freedom initiative in a project to advance the cause of North Korean human rights after the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea report published in 2014. This was the first effort on North Korea of its kind to bring together NGOs, think tanks, and The George W. Bush Institute’s Human Freedom initiative.
The project aimed to spotlight the North Korean human rights issue and foster bipartisan discussion about additional steps the United States can take to support the people of North Korea by bringing together stakeholders to define strategies helpful to governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and improve the human condition in North Korea.
Breaking North Korea's Information Blockade | By Victor Cha and Christopher Walsh
Originally Posted on FP Shadow Government, October 28, 2014
"Forty days. That's the timespan between September 3 and October 14 that North Korea's Kim Jong Un vanished from public sight. Speculation ran rampant outside North Korea as to his whereabouts, ranging from illness to a potential coup. One of the wilder theories attributed his disappearance to Swiss cheese-related health issues. Meanwhile, the country's state-controlled media explained Kim's absence as a product of "discomfort." This incident exemplified the murkiness that surrounds information in North Korea.
The North Korean regime maintains the world's worst media environment. Independent press is nonexistent. Televisions and radios must be modified to receive government approved channels only. Foreign media of any kind is illegal."
North Korea Roundtable | October 23, 2014
China Is Complicit in North Korea's Human Rights Abuses | By Melanie Kirkpatrick and Victor Cha
Originally Posted on FP Shadow Government, July 31, 2014
"Wherever you are vacationing this summer, chances are you will encounter someone with his nose buried in David Baldacci's latest best-seller, "The Target." One of "The Target's" villains is from North Korea, and the novelist doesn't have to use his imagination to describe the depredations of life in that totalitarian country. The human-rights horrors he describes are all too real.
Among the abuses recounted is the punishment for North Koreans who are repatriated after having escaped to China. Beijing's longstanding policy is to deny refugee status to the North Koreans. Rather, Chinese authorities track down, arrest and send back North Koreans who are hiding there. Since the late 1990s, Beijing has forcibly returned tens of thousands of refugees to North Korea. Their only crime was to have sought a better life outside of the repressive country, and many seek to live across the border in South Korea, one of Asia's most vibrant and prosperous democracies."
The Hidden Gulags of North Korea
The George W. Bush Institute’s Human Freedom initiative and the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), using data compiled by HRNK and the UN Commission of Inquiry, created an informative infographic examining North Korea’s political prison camps.
The Gulags of North Korea | By Victor Cha and Lindsay Lloyd
Originally Posted on FP Shadow Government, June 10, 2014
“When North Korea makes the headlines, you can be almost certain that it won't be for good reasons. With depressing regularity, we hear stories about military provocations against South Korea and the North's ongoing efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Or we hear about trivialities like the opening of an amusement park or the disgraceful antics of a former basketball star. But an issue of far greater importance than the trivial stories, and of equal importance to the security questions, gets only scant coverage: North Korea's atrocious record on human rights.”