An international conference celebrating North Korea Human Rights Day was held from September 30 to October 1, 2013, in Toronto and Ottawa, Canada.
Secretary General of NK Gulag Ahn Myong-Cheol together with Research Director of NK Gulag Chung Gwang-Il gave a presentation at the Ottawa Korean Church. The members of the church learned about the critical conditions of the political prison camps still running in North Korea.
Mr. Ahn talked about his experience as a political prison guard and Mr. Chung talked about his arrest and the torture he experienced. After their talks, NKSC’s executive director Kang Cheol-Hwan talked about the ways the international community can help bring the respect of human rights to the North Korea people. While expressing opposition against providing financial or food aid to North Korea, he advocated that information should be directly provided to the North Korean people themselves in order to bring changes from within.
There were about 150 people that attended the event. People asked about the situation of women and ways in which other people could help. Everybody was shocked by the stories of political prison camps and felt like doing something about it immediately.
On October 1, an open discussion was held at the Canadian parliament. There were representatives of all political parties present. In total there were 50 people including Canadian and South Korean citizens.
Paula Dewar, an MP from the New Democratic Party addressed the human rights issue of North Korea showing great interest in the topic. Also, Lieutenant General Romeo Delaire addressed the humanitarian issues the involve North Korea human rights and compared it with his experience in Rwanda. He greatly believed that the Canadian government had a role in allowing human rights to reach the North Korean people.
Lastly, MP Barry Devolin talked about the possibilities of unification and looked at experiences of countries such as Poland and Romania. He supported the need to carry out more research and work actively to push for the dismantlement of the camps.
NKSC would particularly like to thank Mr. Kyung B. Lee, president of HRNK Canada and his beautiful wife for making this conference so successful and treating us with so much hospitality. NKSC would also like to thank all the HRNK Canada members for participating so actively and for helping spread information and awareness of North Korean human rights.