A number of significant developments make me believe that 2013 will be a very significant year for North Korea's freedom and human rights, but only if we continue to do all we can to take advantage of these developments. The increasing international attention on the political prison camps and horrific human rights conditions in North Korea, the provocations being carried out by the Kim Jong Eun regime both in word and action, and the steadily increasing knowledge of the North Korean people themselves about the reality of their circumstances suggest this year will be very significant.
While the North Korea human rights movement has gained great momentum, there is one tragic area in which we have lost ground over the past year: the situation facing North Koreans trying to escape and those trying to shelter and rescue North Koreans in China. We have seen a significant decrease in the number of North Koreans successfully escaping to South Korea and other countries because the collusion between China and North Korea has increased significantly since Kim Jong Un took power. There are two events coming up in February that specifically focus on the North Korean refugee crisis that I wish to bring to your attention: the screening of the film48M hosted by Congressmen Frank Wolf and Rob Wittman and a book signing and discussion with Melanie Kirkpatrick hosted by The Fund for American Studies. Please see below a description of these events -- and feel free to forward this information to others that may be interested.
Many of you have asked about the dates for North Korea Freedom, and I am pleased to announce that the 10th annual North Korea Freedom Week will be held April 28-May 4, 2013. Most of the major events will be in Seoul, but we hope to have events around the world especially as part of the ongoing International Protest to Save North Korean Refugees. Anyone wishing to be part of North Korea Freedom Week either as part of the 2013 delegation visiting Seoul or in helping organize events during that week around the world is welcome to join this special 10th anniversary. While NKFW has always been focused on promoting the freedom, human rights and dignity of the North Korean people, this year we hope to focus on preparing for the freedom of North Korea which is just a matter of time. After all, even the regime itself is preparing for its own collapse with their plans to flood the political prison camps and hide evidence of their atrocities and the elites trying desperately to get possession of as much money as possible to survive future instability. If you wish to be part of the 2013 NKFW delegation or to plan an event during that week, please feel free to email me.
North Korea Freedom Coalition will be meeting this week and hosting President Obama's Special Envoy for North Korea Human Rights Ambassador Robert King for its first meeting of 2013 to share his views on North Korea human rights issues for this coming year. In addition, NKFC will be hosting several defectors visiting from Seoul at the meeting and discussing both international and national developments on this issue as well as how we can capitalize on the information flow into North Korea. The realization of a recommendation put forth by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea some years ago has gained great momentum: the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity in North Korea. The COI has gained great momentum as a result of the efforts of the International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK). In addition, the unanimous passage of the North Korean Child Welfare Act of 2012 shows the continued bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress on these issues. If you are not yet a member of NKFC or interested in learning more about NKFC, visithttp://www.nkfreedom.org/
Special Screening of 48M hosted by Congressmen Frank Wolf and Rob Wittman on February 8th in Centreville, VA : As a follow up to the Congressional hearing on North Korea hosted by Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission co-chairs Congressmen Frank Wolf and James McGovern last Fall, there will be a special screening of the film 48M on Friday, February 8, 2013, at 7 pm at Christ Central Presbyterian Church in Centreville, Virginia. 48M is the moving film produced by North Korean defector Ahn Hyok that depicts the grim reality facing North Korean refugees trying to cross the 48 meters to escape North Korea. Due to limited seating, RSVP is required. For more information, check the flyer with full details at this link:
Escape from North Korea Book Signing with Melanie Kirkpatrick -- February 13th in Washington, DC: The Fund for American Studies will be hosting Melanie Kirkpatrick for a discussion and a book signing of her book: Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad. For more information or to RVSP visit http://www.tfas.org/02232013/
Hope to see you soon here or in Korea!
Acta Non Verba,