North Reports Death of Shin Suk Ja

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North Korea has alleged that Shin Suk Ja, the wife of Dr. Oh Gil Nam and subject of the ‘Daughter of Tongyeong’ campaign that made waves in South Korean society during 2011, is dead and that her daughters have no interest in meeting their father.

The response was revealed by the secretariat of the International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK), which has been leading the fight to save Shin, at a press conference in Seoul this afternoon.

Representing the first official North Korean confirmation of anything related to Shin’s whereabouts since the campaign began, the information emerged on April 27th, pursuant to a letter from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention sent on March 1st this year. The North Korean response was sent by DPRK Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ri Jang Gon.

According to the written response, Shin died “of the hepatitis she suffered since the 1980s,” and moreover, “The two daughters of Mrs. Shin do not regard Mr. Oh as their father since he abandoned his family and drove their mother to her death. They strongly refused to deal with Oh and asked not to bother them anymore.”

“I wish to underline that the case mentioned in your letter has nothing to do with arbitrary detention,” Ri went on.

However, the North Korean reply did not contain any concrete evidence of Shin’s death, nor imply that any is about to be made available. Therefore, Dr, Oh is unbowed. “This is just the typical response that North Korea has been giving to kidnapping issues,” he said. “It is a lie, and a North Korean written response without evidence cannot be accepted as an official document.”

“There is no objective evidence to date whether Hye Won and Kyu Won are free, and whether they reject meeting their father,” he went on. “The North Korean authorities should demonstrate that my two daughters are not being forcibly detained and that they do not want to meet me.”

“The North Korean authorities must offer concrete information as to why Dr. Oh’s wife died,” the ICNK Secretariat added in its own comment. “They have to show the certificate of death and return her remains to Dr. Oh.”

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