During Kim Jong-un’s rule, North Korea’s unrelenting deprivation of fundamental human rights has, if possible, gotten even worse. North Koreans seek to flee the regime ruled by political prisons, torture, hunger, and public execution, completely void of fundamental rights or an adequate standard of living.
The UN Commission of Inquiry condemned Pyongyang for “systemic, widespread, and gross violations of human rights” of such a monumental scale as to constitute crimes against humanity. What will it take for the international community finally to say “no more” to the North Korean regime? Why can’t there be a “red line” for human rights violations as there are for weapons of mass destruction?
The UN Security Council is now at a crossroads as to how to respond to North Korea’s human rights violations. Bringing real change takes courage and the political will to confront the Pyongyang regime. Ambassador Lee will examine the state of human rights violations in North Korea and how best for the international community to sustain the momentum created by the UN Commission of Inquiry.
Lee Jung-hoon is South Korea’s Ambassador for Human Rights. He is also Director of the Center for Modern Korean Studies and Center for American Studies at Yonsei University. He serves as a senior member of South Korea’s National Unification Advisory Council and chair of the Ministry of Unification’s Advisory Committee for Humanitarian Affairs. He also is Co-Chair of Save NK, an NGO dealing mainly with North Korean human rights; Chair of the ‘Committee for the Establishment of Refugee Camp for the North Korean Defectors’; and Vice-Chair of the Supporter’s Group for the ‘House of Sharing’ where several remaining “comfort women” are housed.
More About the Speakers
His Excellency Lee Jung-hoon
Ambassador for Human Rights, Republic of Korea
Senior Research Fellow, Northeast Asia