Human Rights Council: Protect North Koreans

September 18, 2015: … The side event will be at 4 p.m. in room XXI, Palais des Nations, with Michael Kirby; Marzuki Darusman, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea; and Fisher, along with seven persons directly affected by North Korea’s abductions and rights abuses, including Choi Sung Yong; Kim Dong-nam; Banjong Panjoy, the nephew of Thai abductee Anocha Panjoy; Takuya Yokota, the brother of Japanese abductee Megumi Yokota; Eiko Kawasaki, an ethnic Korean Japanese who escaped North Korea; Hwang In-cheol, whose son was abducted after North Korea hijacked Korea Air flight YS-11 and diverted it to Pyongyang; and Tomoharu Ebihara, chair of the Association for the Rescue of North Korea Abductees.

A 2014 report by the UN Commission of Inquiry found that since 1950, the North Korean government has systematically kidnapped nationals from China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Europe, and the Middle East. Pyongyang forced them to stay in North Korea, where the commission found that gross, pervasive, and systemic human rights abuses take place at a scale and gravity without parallel in the contemporary world including extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions, and other sexual violence. Continue reading at Human Rights Watch.

Help Me Free My Father From NK

August 13, 2015: The following is the text, translated into English, of Hwang In-cheol’s letter to Marzuki Darusman, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in North Korea:

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Dear Mr. Marzuki Darusman,

I am asking for your help as a last resort out of desperation for the repatriation of my father. I am the son of Mr. Hwang Won, who was hijacked by North Korean spies on December 11, 1969, on the way to a business trip.

Please allow me to attend the panel talks that you will be leading in Geneva this September, where I would be able to attend to ask the North Korean government for the repatriation of my father. Continue reading at NK News.

DMZ Flashpoints: The 1969 Hijacking Of Korean Airlines YS-11

Thanks to the ROK Drop blog for this excellent piece on the hijacking and Mr Hwang which includes several articles from 1969 and 1970:

August 10, 2015: North Korea has a long history of terrorism with the 1968 Blue House Raid when 31 North Korean operatives tried to assassinate South Korean President Park Chung-hee as the most audacious example.  Once the commandos were detected the ensuing gunfights killed dozens of civilians and soldiers. A year later on December 12, 1969 the North Koreans would conduct a more conventional terrorist act by hijacking a civilian airliner flying from Gangneung to Gimpo carrying 46 passengers and four crew members. Continue reading at the ROK Drop blog.

International Seminar on Enforced Disappearance: Lessons for Korea

On July 22, 2015: NKHR hosted a seminar on transitional justice efforts to respond to enforced disappearances at the British Embassy in Seoul. The seminar—International Seminar on Enforced Disappearance: Lessons for Korea—featured speakers from Guatemala, Timor Leste, Indonesia, and Laos sharing experiences of enforced disappearance in their countries. Drawing from these experiences, the seminar also sought practical lessons for Korea as it starts to consider transitional justice initiatives…

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Many of the audience members were victims themselves or family members of abductees. As the substantive sessions of the seminar came to a close, a few shared their concerns with the panel, as well as their own experiences. In-cheol Hwang, son of Won Hwang who was abducted to North Korea when his Korean Airline flight was abducted by North Korea, raised questions about the practical steps activists and families can take despite the South Korean government’s indifference. Aiko Kawasaki, an ethnically Korean Japanese citizen who was persuaded to move to North Korea after being deceived by the pro-Pyongyang Federation of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon), spoke about her difficult life in North Korea and her escape. Continue reading at NKHR.

 

NK Statements to The UN

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May 9, 2012: The three cases mentioned are not cases of enforced disappearances. There is no person in my country who has been enforced or involuntarily disappeared or detained against his or her will.

January 21, 2013: The cases are not worthy of consideration. Communications related to such cases are the extensions of stereotyped heinous anti-DPRK political plots by forces hostile to the DPRK, and therefore, have nothing to do with the lofty humanitarian mission of your Working Group.

July 22, 2015: The DPRK categorically rejects all such allegations an an integral part of the anti-DPRK “human rights” rackets. These rackets are only based on false information as fabricated by the so-called “defectors from the North” in order to make money for their living by defaming, slandering, their native places and even telling sheer lies.

Complete document is available here.

The Hijacked Flight My Mother Didn’t Take

February 18, 2015: On December 11, 1969, a Korean Air Lines flight was on a brief domestic route within South Korea, when a North Korean agent hijacked the plane by aiming a gun at the pilots. North Korean fighter jets also swarmed in and accompanied the flight. The plane was forced to land in North Korea, along with its crew of two pilots, two stewardesses, and 46 passengers. The crew and seven other passengers never returned to South Korea.

As fate would have it, my mother just missed being one of the stewardesses on that flight, Korean Air Lines (KAL) YS-11. Continue reading at The Archipelago.