[imText1]At the official inauguration of the Committee for Democratization of North Korea on the 10th, a declaration was made by 48 participants condemning the current administrations North Korea policy’s indifferent approach to defectors.
The declaration denounced the policy toward North Korea to be anti-humanitarian and argued that it only aided Kim Jong Il. Alternatively, suggestions were made to amend the policy. Proposals included, i) improvements to human rights in North Korea through the development of South-North relations, ii) policies to assist defectors, iii) South-North cooperation with the underlying notion to elicit change to the North’s government, iv) aid for the people of North Korea and, v) resolution to the nuclear issue through the democratization of North Korea.
The declaration criticized that a change was need in the government’s passive attitude towards defectors to a more strategic and proactive role. They argued, “These defectors have left the dictatorial regime escaping tyranny and hunger. If they are forcefully repatriated to North Korea, they are condemned with the title ‘national traitor’ and thrown into the political gulags” and emphasized, “The lives of these people cannot be guaranteed. They are simply not refugees.”
The declaration urged the Korean government to protect defectors and requested the Chinese government to cease the repatriation of defectors. Also, with collaboration with the international community, the declaration argued for China to recognize defectors as refugees.
“The increase in defectors is an affect of pressurized change to the Kim Jong Il regime. It may even act as a catalyst to advance North Korean democracy” claimed the 48 defectors’ participants of the declaration. They argued that Mt. Geumgang tourism only relieved oppression by persistent dictatorial forces but was of no assistance to North Korea people.
On the topic of aid, they criticized “As long as reciprocity is excluded and monitoring not conducted just like what the South Korean government did for last a decade, aid will only fatten Kim Jong Il’s forces” and argued that South Korea’s aid for North Korea had actually harmed the people rather than being of any assistance.
Proposals were made to improve the disposal of aid and a statement, “If the South Korean government and the people gathered together and created a movement for the democratization of North Korean people, this would be a greater invaluable gift than hundred thousand tons of rice”
In future, we will have to see if any changes are made to the direction of North Korea policy and observe the government’s response to these specific proposals.