About NKHR

On December 10, 1948 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which proclaimed freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom from fear and freedom from poverty as universal rights for all human beings. The General Assembly at the time advised people of all member states to put in all efforts to realize these aims. Over the past four decades, Koreans on the southern half of the peninsula have endeavored to achieve these universal freedoms. With pride, therefore, we were able to advocate freedom and human rights for all. The international community has acknowledged our achievements in improving the human rights situation in South Korea, though it may not yet equal that of more developed countries. Nevertheless, under the scrutiny of a free press, South Korea maintains hope for further improvements in our human rights situation. It is now time for us to turn our eyes to the North. It is well known that the four universal freedoms are nonexistent there. Let's take a look at the situation in North Korea. Can there be freedom of press when all media organizations are scrutinized under the guidance of the Korean Workers' Party? Can there be freedom of religion when prisoners are killed for praying before meals? Can there be freedom from fear when a foreigner is sentenced to prison for questioning the Kim Il-Sung worship of North Korea? Can there be freedom from poverty, knowing that without any foreign aid, thousands will die of hunger? North Korea experts around the world expect that North Korea's control over its people will only strengthen. It is inevitable. When a society destabilizes and the economy weakens, political prisoners and prisoners in labor camps are the first to experience harsher persecution. They are imprisoned merely for expressing opinions different from the ruling power's opinions, or for having tried to leave North Korea. Amnesty International estimates that this group numbers over 150,000 prisoners. By studying North Korea's concept of human rights, we can infer how North Korea treats its political prisoners. An article in the official party's newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, states: "We do not hide class in our concept of human rights. Those who oppose socialism and impure factionists who violate the interests of the people do not deserve freedom and human rights." The paper also labeled political prisoners as anti-revolution factionalists, saying that "they are true traitors of the people's interest, violators, betrayers, and degrading human scums." These statements make it clear that political and labor prisoners will continue to be oppressed. We plan to coordinate with human rights organizations around the world to publicize the human rights atrocities in North Korea. I believe this will lead our 20 million North Korean brothers and sisters to gain the freedom that we enjoy today and will hasten the day of our peaceful, democratic unification. Finally, the mandate of our mission is as follows: With regard to the main composition of this movement, it will be a citizens' movement. With regard to its goals, it will create a solid foundation for the reunification of North and South Korea. With regard to its direction, it will be an international movement. With regard to history, it shall be a peaceful movement. Signed on May 4, 1996 At Jongno Catholic Church in Seoul By 22 founding members