On April 29, 2010, a scholar seminar was hosted by NKSC at an auditorium of the Community Chest of Korea. A large number of organizations attended the event, including Peter Jung, the director of Justice for North Korea, Hee-Yoon Doh of North Korea Human Rights Solidarity, along with numerous North Korean defectors. As a part of North Korea Freedom Week, the seminar focused on the role of civic groups and testimonies of North Korean defectors about human rights abuse.
Peter Jung, the president of North Korea Justice Solidarity, started talking by pointing out China’s continuous compulsive repatriation of North Korean defectors to North Korea, and asserted that the international community has to be more proactive in establishing international law. “I want to point out that China is not stopping the repatriation of defectors to North Korea. The South Korean government should be more active in calling for the rights of North Korean defectors. The Lee Myungbak administration has barely made an effort to ask Hu Jintao, the premier of China, to let North Korean defectors to choose where they want to stay.”
Peter Jung continued his speech, showing drawings of North Koreans at relocation centers and saying that the repatriated defectors gave up on living as normal humans with rights. “The drawing I am holding was drawn by a North Korean defector at a relocation center in 2002. The defector drew this in the process of defecting in order to show the international community about the realities of North Korea before being repatriated. Dogs are superior than humans in concentration camps and relocation centers. This is a drawing of a dog eating a human corpse.”
Following Peter Jeong, several North Korean defectors testified on their experiences being imprisoned in the camps.
Chul-Young Kim from Hamjugun, Hamkyung Namdo testified that he lost one of his eyes by having back of his head hit with a club just because he touched the prison guard’s food. “I had to clean the safety investigators’ bedroom and the prison guards told me and my friend to rinse out the dead goat’s intestines. We were only going to take a bite, but we ended up eating more than we thought because we were extremely hungry. The prison guards came and started to beat us saying that the offenders ate what the higher ranking officials were going to eat. I was beaten up so hardly that one of my eyes popped out.”
Kyung-Joo Kim, a former female official at the North Korean naval forces, was seven months pregnant when she was caught by the Chinese police. The North Korean government gave her a six year sentence giving her neither a trial nor a lawyer. She shed tears as she talked about her baby getting executed after being born in prison. “They put you on a caved cement floor. My friend who helped me giving birth told me that it was a daughter. She cut the naval string with my hair and I held my baby with my undergarments. The prison guards were telling me that the baby must die since it is a child of a betrayer. I begged on my knees to not kill the baby… Bleeding, I told them that I would never defect nor go back to China, but they said that it did not matter. They told me to turn over the baby facing down. When I woke up, I figured that my baby cried for two hours facing down and died. They usually put corpse in the warehouse. After 3 days, the person from the warehouse told me not to go there… I asked why and the person told me that the rats picked the meat off of my baby…
The auditorium fell silent after the testimonies.
Jae-Won Lee, the chairman of North Korean human rights subcommittee from Korean Bar Association, said that the root of North Korean human rights issues is that South Korea needs to get their diplomacy protection approved by the international community and that the South Korean government should establish policies protecting North Korean defectors.