A Refugee From North Korea is coming to UCLA, Need I say more? [well I will]

May 8, 2008

Hey everyone!

SPAANK is working with LINK to bring a refugee from North Korea to UCLA. There are very few NK refugees in America so this is a VERY RARE CHANCE to hear a first-hand testimony of the conditions inside North Korea. Here are some of the event details:

US TOUR OF NORTH KOREAN DEFECTOR BORN AND RAISED IN CONCENTRATION CAMP

Washington, DC – LiNK will be hosting North Korean defector Dong-hyuk SHIN on a speaking tour entitled, “Born and Raised in a Concentration Camp,” from Wednesday, April 30 to Wednesday, May 14. Shin will recount his experiences as a North Korean who was born into slavery as a political prisoner in a North Korean concentration camp.

After some relatives defected, Shin’s father, grandparents, and uncle were deemed treasonous and sent to separate camps. His father was sent to Political Prison Camp No. 14 in Kaechon, South Pyongan province, which houses approximately 60,000 inmates and is about 50 miles north of Pyongyang. For good behavior, he was permitted to marry a fellow inmate. Dong-hyuk SHIN was born on Nov. 19, 1982 and called the camp home until 2005.

While at the camp, Shin endured daily beatings, torture, starvation-level rations, saw forced abortions and even witnessed the public execution of his mother and brother in 1996. Shin described his life of total isolation from the world: “In South Korea, although there is disappointment and sadness, there is also so much joy, happiness and comfort. In Kaechon, I did not even know such emotions existed. The only emotion I ever knew was fear: fear of beatings, fear of starvation, fear of torture and fear of death.”

The speaking tour will be held in Washington, DC (4/30-5/5); New York City (5/6-5/8); Chicago (5/9-5/10); San Francisco (5/11-5/13); Los Angeles (5/13); and Irvine, California (5/14). For more details, please visit: http://www.libertyinnorthkorea.blogspot.com/

LiNK’s Executive Director Adrian Hong and Deputy Director Hannah Song will accompany Shin on the tour and will be speaking about the broader issue of human rights in North Korea, as well as the current refugee situation and LiNK’s resettlement activities. Liberty in North Korea, or LiNK, is an international non-governmental organization devoted to human rights in North Korea and the protection of North Korean refugees.

Biographies

Dong-hyuk SHIN:
Mr. Shin was born and raised in Political Prison Camp No. 14 until his escape in 2005. Based in South Korea, he has testified before Britain’s House of Lords, and published a book in 2007 entitled “I Was a Political Prisoner at Birth in North Korea” published by the DataBase Center for North Korean Human Rights. Mr. Shin aspires to attend college and hopes to become a policeman.

Adrian Hong:
Adrian Hong currently serves as Executive Director of Liberty in North Korea, or LiNK, an international NGO devoted to human rights in North Korea, and the protection of North Korean refugees all over the world. In December of 2006, Mr. Hong was arrested along with 2 LiNK field workers and 6 North
Korean refugees in the People’s Republic of China and imprisoned before being released and deported. The PRC refuses to recognize North Koreans as refugees despite international, independent and UN findings to the contrary, and does not abide by it’s treaty obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention, which it is a signatory to. North Koreans repatriated to the DPRK face severe interrogation and punishment, and those caught attempting to defect, converting to Christianity or meeting with foreigners face imprisonment in labor and concentration camps. The refugees were released in July of 2007 in an unprecedented move by Chinese authorities and sent to South Korea.

Hannah Song:
Hannah Song currently serves as Deputy Director of LiNK. Ms. Song speaks regularly all over the world at universities, conferences, symposiums and events. Working out of LiNK’s headquarters office in Washington, D.C., Ms. Song advocates for the North Korean people to governments, institutions and agencies worldwide, working on policy issues affecting the North Korean people, maintaining and supporting a large underground network of shelters for North Korean refugees in hiding, and focusing on refugee resettlement programs both in the U.S. and South Korea. Ms. Song also coordinates LiNK’s Liberty House initiative, a comprehensive
program dedicated to helping refugees transition to new lives in new nations

If you haven’t noticed, UCLA is the LAST stop of the tour so come check it out, it’ll definitely be an eye-opening experience.

From your faithful SPAANKers

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