Forum to Raise Awareness Of NK Refugee Issues

August 1, 2017: … Hwang In-cheol, a South Korean national, will discuss his 15-year effort to have his father, Hwang Won, released from North Korea. Hwang Won was an MBC producer who was abducted to North Korea when a North Korean agent hijacked a Korean Air airplane in 1969.

The junior Hwang is representative of KAL Abductees’ Repatriation Committee (KALARC) and TNKR’s fellow in human dignity. Continue reading at The Korea Times.

Moon Urges NK To Return Detainees Swiftly

June 20, 2017:  South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday said North Korea should swiftly return South Koreans and Americans detained in the reclusive nation and that Pyongyang had “a heavy responsibility” in the death of a U.S. university student.

“Even today, there are many Korean nationals and American citizens who are detained in North Korea,” Moon said. “I also urge North Korea to return these people to their families.” Continue reading at Reuters.

 

 

Otto Warmbier Got an Extra Dose of Brutality From North Korea. The Mystery Is Why.

June 14, 2017: The news about Mr. Warmbier deepened the anxiety among families of South Koreans and Japanese citizens held in the North. North Korea is accused of kidnapping more than 450 South Koreans, mostly fishermen, and 12 Japanese citizens in the decades after the Korean War.

“This sounded like a warning to us, signaling what might happen to our family members if we spoke out against human rights abuses in the North,” said Hwang In-cheol, whose father was on a South Korean airliner hijacked to the North in 1969.  Continue reading “Otto Warmbier Got an Extra Dose of Brutality From North Korea. The Mystery Is Why.”

National Human Rights Commission of Korea Accused of Ignoring Abductee Issue

May 15, 2017: “I have submitted a petition to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) to locate my father who has been detained in North Korea for 48 years, but I received the following reply: ‘Your petition has been dismissed due to the highly political and diplomatic aspects of the case.’ If the Republic of Korea ignores the suffering of those whose family members were victims of the KAL hijacking incident, it is no better than a country that violates human rights.'” Continue reading at Daily NK.

Son of KAL Hijacking Victim Advocates Tirelessly for Father’s Return

February 14, 2017: Today, we’re going to speak with Hwang In Cheol, whose father was kidnapped during the 1969 North Korean hijacking of Korean Airlines Flight YS-11. Thanks for coming in today. Can you start by telling us some basic information about the incident that separated you from your father?

“I was only two years old at the time. The domestic flight departed from Gangneung Airbase and was heading towards Gimpo Airport on December 11, 1969. It took off at 12:25 pm. Only 10 minutes after takeoff, a North Korean spy named Jo Chang Hui forcibly took control of the aircraft. The plane was rerouted to North Korea, and escorted by North Korean fighter planes….” Continue reading at Daily NK.

Abductees Remain Casualties of Nuclear Stand-off with North Korea

February 8, 2017: In 1969, Hwang In-cheol’s father was among the 47 passengers and crew aboard a Korea Air (KAL) airliner that was hijacked into North Korea. Most were released under intense international pressure, but 11 of them, including Hwang’s father, who was a journalist and outspoken critic of the then Kim Il Sung regime, were not allowed to return nor permitted to communicate with their families.

Continue reading “Abductees Remain Casualties of Nuclear Stand-off with North Korea”

Torn Apart: The Human Rights Dimension of the Involuntary Separation of Korea Families

December 7, 2016: A new report, published today by the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR), documents the experiences of families who have been separated since the 1950-1953 Korean War through displacement, forced disappearance and abductions, and as a result of those fleeing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The KAL hijacking and Mr. Hwang’s efforts to ensure the crime is not forgotten are mentioned on page 19, paragraph 49:

The story of Mr. Hwang In-chul, whose father was abducted in 1969, along with 50 other passengers and crew members of a Korean Air flight, remains among the best-known cases of proven post-war abductions by the authorities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Whereas 39 victims were returned to the Republic of Korea in 1970, all others remained disappeared, including Mr. Hwang’s father, a medical doctor, media technicians and four crew members.

According to witnesses, Mr. Hwang’s father, a journalist, had strongly resisted his abductors while being “re-educated” to embrace North Korean ideology, which may explain why he was not returned. A sequence of worldwide plane hijackings in the following months motivated a resolution by the Security Council “appeal[ing] to all parties concerned for the immediate release of all passengers and crews without exception.” Mr. Hwang stated that the incident was particularly traumatic for his family and his upbringing because “even if you are a victim, society looks down on you and you are considered a spy.”

Related article.

Mr. Hwang to the World: Bring My Father Home

A big thank you to former TNKR intern Priscilla McCelvey for this touching and insightful piece on Mr. Hwang’s crusade and journey:

August 30, 2016: At the Freedom Bridge between North and South Korea, during a recent rally for the return of his father, Hwang In-cheol sings a traditional Korean song about missing your home, longing for your hometown. His voice is soothing and stable, almost as if a breeze could carry it, a metaphorical reach across the world’s most militarized border to try and connect with his father. The lyrics of the song are the last words any South Korean has heard from former MBC television producer Hwang Won. While imprisoned against his will in North Korea, he sang the song in protest. In response, North Korean government officials dragged him away; no one has seen him since.

All the while, Hwang In-cheol has spent most of his adult life fighting for the return of his father, who was abducted by the North Korean government on December 11, 1969. Mr. Hwang was two years old, and his father was thirty-two. On that day, a North Korean agent hijacked Korean Airlines Plane (KAL) YS-11 while en route to Seoul, taking 50 people with him across the border into North Korea. Since then, 39 of the people have been returned, the remaining eleven’s fate still unknown. Continue reading at Pax Politica.

Signe Poulsen: Enforced Disappearances

August 19, 2016: On Aug. 30, the international community will mark the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances. This day is an opportunity for people in all parts of the world to reflect and commemorate the missing, to denounce the practice of enforced disappearances, and to advocate for an end to this practice.

Under international law, an enforced disappearance occurs when an individual is arrested, detained, or otherwise deprived of their liberty by government officials or individuals acting on behalf of, or with the support, consent or acquiescence of the government, followed by a refusal to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the person. Continue reading at The Korea Times.

Korea Times Roundtable: I Want My Father Back

August 19, 2016: Hwang In-cheol doesn’t remember what his father looked like. After all, Hwang was only a two-year-old toddler when an airplane his father, Hwang Won, a television program director, was on board was hijacked by a North Korean agent.

KT Round Table

That was 47 years ago on Dec. 11, 1969. However much time may pass, some wounds never heal. For Hwang, that wound is his father. The bizarreness involved in his father’s abduction makes the situation even more painful for him. The senior Hwang was not supposed to take that fateful flight ― it was a last-minute call from his boss, who asked him to take his place. Continue reading at The Korea Times.