NYU Freedoms 4 North Korea

Freedoms 4 North Korea is a student-run organization at NYU that seeks to raise awareness on the North Korean human rights crises on campus and beyond.


Join us TOMORROW from 6-7 PM in Kimmel 803 as LiNK gives us a fresh breakdown on the current situation of the North Korean people and what changes are going on within the country as well as how YOU can personally get involved!FREE pizza and refreshments will be provided. For more info, please refer to our Facebook event page. See you all tomorrow!
UPDATE: Hannah Song, the LiNK CEO and president will be coming as a guest so for those of you interested in talking to her, here’s your opportunity!

Join us TOMORROW from 6-7 PM in Kimmel 803 as LiNK gives us a fresh breakdown on the current situation of the North Korean people and what changes are going on within the country as well as how YOU can personally get involved!

FREE pizza and refreshments will be provided. For more info, please refer to our Facebook event page.

See you all tomorrow!

UPDATE: Hannah Song, the LiNK CEO and president will be coming as a guest so for those of you interested in talking to her, here’s your opportunity!


Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director of HRNK discusses the history, politics, and humans right situation in North Korea.  Listen to the podcast here:

A Look Into North Korea

Men in North Korea are now required to get the same haircut as their leader Kim Jong-un, it is reported.

Summary: Last month, the U.N. released an extensive 372-page report on the human rights violations occurring in North Korea (click here for a recap).

Tomorrow, the U.N. Human Rights Council will hold a debate on the report with Michael Kirby, the leader of the inquiry, officially presenting the report in front of the council. The forum will then decide on how it will handle North Korea by the 28th.

As Roseann Rife of Amnesty International states, “This is the first real test of the international community to show it is serious about acting on the Commission of Inquiry’s chilling findings.”

North Korea has, of course, rejected the report’s findings as false.

While the fact that the U.N. will be discussing these atrocities at all is a good thing, there are several factors to consider when predicting the U.N.’s response.

First, although North Korea is already on the agenda of the U.N. General Assembly, the Security Council has only focused on its nuclear weapons and proliferation threat so far.

Secondly, as China, North Korea’s ally, has veto powers at the Security Council, it will most likely be difficult to win international consensus to bring Kim Jong Un to the ICC. Furthermore, China, along with Cuba and Russia, were not part of the council when the Japanese-EU resolution to set up the inquiry into North Korean human rights violations was unanimously approved. However, all three countries are back on the council again along with Venezuela and Vietnam, making the likelihood of consensus close to zero.

Additionally, as Pyongyang has not signed the Rome treaty setting up the ICC, its prosecutor can act only at the request of world powers. As a result, the United States, which has shown its support for the campaign to hold North Korea accountable, has qualms about explicitly calling for a referral to the ICC. African countries are also divided on this prospect.

With all these factors in mind, it remains unclear whether the U.N. will be able to reach a consensus on how to deal with North Korea and whether an effective resolution will be passed come March 28.

Here are some headlines and quotes from select articles pertaining to North Korea that were published this past week. Please keep in mind that these are very brief summaries and that the links provided have much more detail on the following topics.

  • North Korea Uses Election To Reshape Parliament (3/9)- North Korea held its first parliamentary elections under Kim Jong-un, who was expected to use the polls and a newly elected legislature to elevate officials loyal to him and further consolidate his power.

    - The new parliamentary lineup will provide outside analysts a glimpse of who is rising in and falling from Mr. Kim’s favor.

  • North Korea: Glimmer of Hope (3/11)
    - Growing trade with China is gradually opening up the economy and giving the population a taste of freedom; however, this is more a reflection of the North Korean government’s surrender of control over much of the real economy than a result of improved policies.

    Visitors to Pyongyang over the past two years speak of growing prosperity, but the gap between rich and poor is very big with the majority of North Koreans still endure grinding poverty.

    - The government has already started to lose its ideological hold over its people as they no longer believe propaganda. Cheap electronics from China such as radios and mobile phones that connect North Korean citizens to the outside world have started to destroy the North Korean state’s monopoly on information.

  • Front companies, embassies mask North Korean weapons trade: U.N. (3/12)
    - The U.N. reports that North Korea has developed sophisticated ways to circumvent its sanctions, making use of more complicated financial countermeasures and techniques “pioneered by drug- trafficking organizations.”

    - North Korea relies on a complex corporate network of foreign-based firms and individuals that help it evade scrutiny of its assets as well as its financial and trade dealings. Its embassies abroad play a key role in aiding and abetting these shadowy companies.

  • US backs UN action on North Korea human rights (3/14)
    -The U.S. stated that it supports the UN Human Rights Council’s actions on North Korea’s human rights record.

    - Robert King, the US special envoy on North Korean human rights, voiced confidence that the UN Human Rights Council would pass a resolution on the totalitarian state’s record at its session next week in Geneva and hopes to have the record brought before the more powerful Security Council.

    - However, he also states it remains to be seen whether they are able to get North Korea on the agenda as the
    the Security Council was “fairly fully occupied,” especially with the Ukraine crisis.

    - Furthermore, China holds veto power on the Security Council and has publicly rejected referring leaders of North Korea, its ally and neighbor, to the International Criminal Court for trial.

    - However, he believes that an improvement in the relationship between North Korea and the United States will depend on improvement in the North Korean record on human rights.

  • N. Korea fires 25 short-range missiles toward East Sea (3/16)
    - North Korea fired off 25 short-range missiles toward the East Sea late Sunday, Seoul’s military said, the latest show of force in response to the ongoing joint South Korea-U.S. military drills.


The Globe Theatre is catching flak from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International for its plans to perform Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in North Korea as part of a forthcoming global tour.

The legendary London venue announced its plans last July, so it isn’t clear why rights groups waited until now to speak up. But their criticisms of the tour come about a month after the United Nations’ release of a detailed report on North Korean human rights abuses.

Amnesty and Human Rights Watch surely didn’t need to be reminded of Pyongyang’s horrific rights abuses. But their belated opposition to the Globe’s plans may be a sign that the widely publicized and extremely graphic UN report has helped reframe how the world views interactions with North Korea

And that, in turn, could pose challenges for those who want to organize cultural or sports exchanges with Pyongyang (regardless of what Dennis Rodman does next). Depending on your perspective, this potential shift in nongovernmental engagement with North Korea would be either long overdue or most unfortunate.

FREE film screening of The Journals of Musan TONIGHT at 6 PM in Kimmel 905!


For more info, please refer to our Facebook event page.

Hello everyone,

This week, we will be hosting a free screening of Park Jungbum’s award-winning film, The Journals of Musan, which follows the story of Jeon Seungchul, a North Korean refugee who encounters discrimination and prejudice after resettling in South Korea.

WHEN: Thursday, March 6, 2014 from 6-8 PM

WHERE: NYU Kimmel Center Room 905 (60 Washington Square South New York, NY 10012)


For more details, please refer to our Facebook event page.

See you all there!

Article highlights:

  • South Korean President Park Geun-hye made a formal proposal to North Korea on Saturday to hold family reunions regularly.
  • Although these reunions between families separated since the Korean War used to be held annually, there have been only 19 reunions since the first in 1985 and they stopped in 2010 when tensions between the two Koreas worsened.
  • However, reunions have begun again with the latest held on February 20-25 with 813 family members.
  • Park stated that the reunions should be held more regularly rather than as special occasions especially considering the fact that there is not much time left for these elderly Koreans to reunite with their families.

Here’s a brief bullet point summary:

  • North Korea launched four Scud missiles into the East Sea/Sea of Japan on Thursday.
  • The South Korean Defense Ministry stated that this was a military provocation.
  • This was the first time since 2009 that North Korea has fired Scud missiles.
  • However, experts believe it is a low-level matter and is most likely little more than regular military testing. This may be an attempt to show of North Korean capabilities.


The third and final round of inter-Korean family reunions at Mt. Kumgang concluded Tuesday with wrenching goodbyes. At 1:21, a South Korean man holds up a simple message for his departing North Korean brother to read through a bus window: “형님, 사랑합니다. 다음에 또 만나요. 항상 건강 하세요.” (“I love you, big brother. See you again next time. Please stay healthy always.”)


In case you missed it, the HRNK blog features testimonials by North Korean defectors who have interned at our office in Washington, DC. Read the latest entry here.

A North Korean patrol boat violated a sea border with the South several times late on Monday, officials in Seoul say.

As some of you may have already heard, the United Nations released an extensive 372-page report yesterday on the human rights violations occurring in North Korea.

After a year-long investigation, the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has concluded that these crimes against humanity are unparalleled in the modern world and strongly resemble those implemented by the Nazis during World War II.

Some of these abuses include prison camps, torture, public executions, deliberate starvation, enforced disappearances, and arbitrary imprisonment among many other violations.

Here are three articles to familiarize yourself with the main points of the report:

CNN - North Korea: ‘We were forced to eat grass and soil’ (includes drawings and excerpts from testimonies given by North Koreans detailing horrific conditions they have experienced)

Reuters - UN documents North Korean torture chambers, prison camps…and luxury goods

The Guardian - Torture, executions, rapes: the UN’s dossier on North Korea’s state abuses

The U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva will hold a debate on the report on March 17 and vote on its recommendations by the 28th.

North Korea's leadership is committing systematic and appalling human rights abuses against its own citizens on a scale unparalleled in the modern world, crimes against humanity with strong parallels to those committed by the Nazis, a United Nations inquiry has concluded.

The chair of the three-strong panel set up by the UN commissioner on human rights has personally written to North Korea’s leaderKim Jong-un, to warn that he could face trial at the international criminal court (ICC) for his personal culpability as head of state and leader of the military.