Dr. Oh Kil Nam testified before the 20th session of the UN Human Rights Council yesterday, telling assembled representatives the story of his family, which has been in arbitrary detention in North Korea since the mid-1980s.
Dr. Oh’s wife Shin Suk Ja and their two daughters, Oh Won and Gyu Won, have been unable to leave North Korea since he escaped while on a trip to Europe under orders to persuade other South Korean students then studying abroad into returning with him to the country.
“My family has spent three decades in a political prison camp; where unimaginable human rights violations are committed,” he asserted. “Now, 25 years later, I have come here as a 70 year old man to thank the UN for its concern, and also to tell you of my last wish; to embrace my wife and daughters, if only once more.”
Oh’s story, one of more than 50 testimonies presented to the session by various world NGOs and other individuals, was described by one person in attendance as “extraordinarily persuasive and touching.”
Oh concluded his remarks with a reminder of “the two hundred thousand innocent lives being wasted inside the [North Korean prison camps].”
Political prisoners in such camps face “arbitrary detention, torture, enslavement, sexual violence, and many other crimes against humanity,” he noted, adding, “with your help we can save all the unknown daughters and sons from those dark places.”
Earlier the same day, Dr. Oh personally delivered a letter to the North Korean Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva addressed to Kim Jong Eun (see picture).
|▲ Dr. Oh Kil Nam at the Geneva embassy of North Korea on the 28th (© ORNK)|