5th North Korean Human Rights and Refugees Conference
North Korean Human Rights and Refugees
The 5th International Conference
Place :Warsaw, Poland
Sejm (Polish Parliament) and nearby Grand Hotel
Time : Feb 29,2004, - Mar 02, 2004,
Protest in front of the Chinese and North Korean
embassy in Warsaw : Tue, Mar 2, 2004, 2:00 PM
Citizen's Alliance for North Korean Human Rights &
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
For more information, contact:
Alice Jean Suh,
International Campaign Team
Citizens Alliance for North Korean Human Rights
The 5th International Conference on North
Korean Human Rights and Refugees will assemble in
Warsaw, Poland on Feb 29-Mar02. The opening ceremony
will be at the Sejm (Polish Parliament) and the
remaining sessions will meet at the nearby Grand
Hotel. The Seoul-based Citizens Alliance for North
Korean Human Rights (NKHR), which has organized the
conference since 1999, co-hosting the event with the
Warsaw-based Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.
Five North Korean defectors will speak at the
conference, along with the first prime minister of
Poland after the collapse of the Soviet and a
founding member of Solidarity, former UN officials
who presided during investigations into the Bosnian
and Cambodian genocides, the US Commissioner on
International Religious Freedom and a representative
of the European Union Council. Over 100
participants, including human rights workers,
international policy makers and journalists, will
Last week's allegations that political prisoners
are killed in gas chambers underscored the magnitude
of the human rights violations in North Korea.
Satellite photos of seven North Korean concentration
camps were published late last year, and a report
released by Amnesty International last month
detailed public executions of starving people caught
stealing food. Today, police in the North
Korea/China border area continue to hunt refugees
and forcibly return them to North Korea.
These severe human rights violations have finally
come to the attention of the international
community. In April 2003, the 59th UN Commission on
Human Rights (UNCHR) adopted a resolution by the
European Union?the first to formally condemn North
Korea for 'widespread and grave' abuses of human
rights. In October 2003, the UN High Commissioner
for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers, declared that North
Koreans hiding in China were 'a group of concern,'
effectively giving them refugee status.
Persistent monitoring by and careful counseling from
the international community is essential to moving
forward. By meeting in Poland, the 5th International
Conference seeks to direct the growing drive for
charge, particularly among the EU countries. Poland
will be a significant ally for North Korean human
rights when it joins the EU in May; its history with
the Nazi and Soviet genocides, vast concentration
camps (Auschwitz, Krakow, Treblinka) and the
struggle for democracy, can give much guidance to
the present situation in North Korea.
The panelists of this conference include:
-Tadeusz Mazowiecki, a founding member of Solidarity
and elected in 1989 as the first non-Communist
Polish prime minister, will speak on the role of the
special rapporteur of the UN. A former special
rapporteur of the UNCHR in the former Yugoslavia, he
resigned to protest the international community's
inaction during the genocides in Bosnia.
-Michael Young, commissioner of the US Committee on
International Religious Freedom, will speak on
religious freedom in North Korea.
-Bruno Hanses, Principal Administrator of the
General Secretariat of the EU Council, will present
the EU's efforts on human rights in North Korea.
-David Hawk, a consultant for the US Committee for
Human Rights in North Korea, will speak on
strategies for the upcoming 60th UNCHR in Geneva. He
is a prominent human rights investigator, having
directed the Cambodia office of the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights in 1996 and 1997. His
recent work includes "The Hidden Gulag: Exposing
North Korea's Prison Camps," published in 2003.
The conference will conclude with peaceful rallies
in front of the Chinese and North Korean embassies
The three main areas of discussion at the conference
will be: North Korean Crimes Against Humanity, the
Role of International Society in the North Korean
Human Rights Problem, and Planning Future Actions.
During the Crimes Against Humanity session,
panelists will present on the NGO experience in
North Korea, systematic violations of social,
cultural and economic rights, North Korean and
European concentration camps, and religious freedom.
During the discussion on actions of the
international community, panelists will present on
legislation in the US Congress and the EU Council.
Participants will also discuss strategies for the
upcoming 60th UNCHR and strategies for NK refugees
Other highlights of the conference include a preview
of Seoul Train, a documentary edited by an Emmy
award-winner slated for release later this year.
The Citizens' Alliance for North Korean Human
Rights is a non-partisan, non-governmental
organization that has advocated for North Korean
human rights since 1996. It remains one of the most
comprehensive sources of testimonies from defectors,
researchers and activists. In July 2003, NKHR was
awarded the Democracy Award by the National
Endowment for Democracy.
The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights was founded
in 1989, after seven years of underground activities
as the Helsinki Committee. Their original mission
was to monitor compliance with the Helsinki Final
Act in the Soviet-bloc countries, and today HFHR is
one of Europe's oldest and most respected human
For a detailed agenda and a registration form,
please visit NKHR`s website at:
Please also look for the latest information in :
add a comment on this article