North Korean Human Rights week originally launched in 2004 in Washington D.C. It has been sustained by an influential group of individuals with vastly different backgrounds and stories from all over the world--but we share a strong common bond of belief that North Korean citizens deserve to utilize their primary rights to navigate their own destinies instead of being used as pawns in a political game that gorges an elite few while starving millions (and by "starving" I do not mean only in nutrition and health--but clearly their lack of physical well-being automatically prevents them from realizing their fundamental progress as human beings).
North Korean border officers
North Korean Human Rights Week 2010 kicks off in Seoul, South Korea for the first time, with several other events in various locations around the globe. North Korean defectors, South Korean leaders, and worldwide activists will bring attention to the human rights violations that Kim Jong-il’s regime has inflicted on North Korean citizens, as well as individuals and families the world over. The various exhibits, talks and roundtables are not to be missed.
Below is the official statement from Robert R. King, Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues:
I want to thank the organizers of North Korea Freedom Week for continuing to call international attention to human rights in North Korea. I regret that I am unable to attend this year’s events in Seoul, but I welcome your decision to hold the first North Korea Freedom Week in South Korea.
The North Korean Human Rights Act enshrines the commitment of the American people to promote respect for the human rights and the well-being of the North Korean people. As President Obama and Secretary Clinton’s Special Envoy for this effort, I recognize the great value of the work done in collaboration with civil society organizations in the United States and South Korea which are dedicated to improving human rights in North Korea. Through our collective efforts, we are increasing the flow of information into and out of North Korea and promoting human rights and laying the groundwork for civil society development.
The United States Government remains deeply concerned about human rights in North Korea and the plight of North Korean refugees. This concern is a reflection of our national values. As President Obama said, “Support for human rights and human dignity is ingrained in America.” Respect for human rights by the North Korean government will have a significant impact on the prospect for closer ties with the United States and will be necessary for that country to participate fully in the international community.
Improving human rights for the North Korean people requires that we all work together. Through cooperation with nongovernmental organizations who share our firm commitment to the welfare of the North Korean people, we can make progress. Thank you for your efforts.