Human Rights Improvement is the Road to Peaceful Peninsula

[imText1]February 16, on the birthday of Kim Jong Il’s sixty third birthday, domestic and foreign NGOs and human rights activists’ voices filled Kwanghawmun, Seoul.

As to end the 6th International Conference on North Korean Human Rights held in Sogang University, Seoul, for three days, about a hundred participants of the conference gathered in front of Dong-A newspaper building located in Kwanghwamoon, Seoul and had a peaceful protest to urge for North Korean human rights improvement.

Prior to the protest, Susan Sholte, president of the Defense Forum Foundation read out the joint statement, which pointed out ▲the North Korean government must close down the detention facilities and stop torture, biological experiment, and other human rights abuse activities, ▲the Chinese government must stop repatriation of North Korean defectors and allow UNHCR to work in the Sino-Korean border area, and ▲ the South Korean government must actively engage itself to solve the problems of North Korean defectors and North Korean human rights.

▲ Therese Jebsen of the Rafto House is reading the names of the prisoners.

Later, human rights activists from all over the world each read names of the two hundred prisoners in North Korean gulags who were repatriated to North Korea, human rights activists arrested in China, and the identified prisoners in North Korean gulags, and urged for their release and return to home.

▲ Volunteers’ performance on North Korean defectors in detention facilities

Volunteers’ skit on how North Korean defectors are arrested by the Chinese border patrol heightened the participants’ enthusiasm.

The participants sang Arirang, a traditional Korean song, and shouted phrases protesting against the South Korean and Chinese governments with John Lennon’s song, Peace A Change’ at the background and expressed their hole for North Korean human rights improvement.

▲ Activists for North Korean human rights from all over the world

In the morning of the same day, fifty members of the “Unification Alliance for the Realization of the 615 South-North Co-Statement and Peace of Koran Peninsula” had a “protest against American manipulation of the international conference” in front of the US embassy in Seoul.

The members of the Unification Alliance gave a statement saying that the International Conference was held thanks to the direct financial and other support of America, and performed a skit where they threw water balloons to a mock Statue of Liberty.