WASHINGTON, October 26, 2017. The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) releases today the most comprehensive and authoritative examination of political prisons and prison camps in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as North Korea is formally known. The report, The Parallel Gulag: North Korea’s “An-jeon-bu” Prison Camps, breaks new ground by publishing twenty previously unseen satellite images of prisons and prison camps and reveals a parallel network of prisons controlled by the North Korean Ministry of People’s Safety (MPS, In-min-bo-an-seong, referred to by North Korean escapees as an-jeon-bu).
In another first, the report includes the first English translation of the 2012 DPRK Criminal Code and a concise explanation of how these laws are used to control the North Korean citizenry and send scores of thousands of North Koreans to cruel imprisonment and forced labor. According to David Hawk, "the practices documented in Parallel Gulag reveal yet another layer of North Korea's brutal system in blatant contradiction to international laws, including treaties that North Korea has ratified."
The Honorable Michael Kirby, former Chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (COI), states that Parallel Gulag “updates the record contained in the COI report.” In his foreword to Parallel Gulag, Justice Kirby further states that the report “shows that North Korea’s system of political oppression remains in place as an affront to the conscience of humanity.”
According to Justice Kirby, “through David Hawk’s research and dedication, we in the outside world have come to know the gulags for what they are: instruments of fear and control by the leadership of the DPRK that has imposed on North Korea a huge system of detention that breaches United Nations law and universal, civilized standards.” Justice Kirby further points out that the human rights violations documented in Parallel Gulag “suggest the imposition of degrees of suffering even more pervasive than the UN COI described in 2014.”
Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director, HRNK said: "Even as the world is transfixed by the slings and arrows surrounding vital nuclear weapons considerations, it is more important than ever to ensure that the fate of everyday North Koreans trapped in the unyielding gulag systems remains at the forefront of our efforts and the efforts of the international community. Furthermore, there is an undeniable nexus between North Korea’s human rights violations and the security threats it poses."
For media, inquiries contact Greg Scarlatoiu at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-499-7973 or author David Hawk directly at email@example.com or 718-644-2963.
THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 A.M. EST THURSDAY OCT. 26, 2017
The report’s release will be held at the First Amendment Lounge of the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Thursday, October 26 from 9:30-11:00 am. The event will feature opening remarks by Victor Cha, Korea Chair, CSIS, followed by presentations by author David Hawk and HRNK’s Amanda Mortwedt Oh. Thereafter, Roberta Cohen, Co-Chair Emeritus, HRNK, and Stephen Noerper, Senior Director, Korea Society, will provide valuable discussion, moderated by HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu. The event will also include ample opportunity for questions.
Please join us on October 26, 2017, for the launch of The Parallel Gulag. One complimentary copy of the report will be offered to each participant. Our publications are freely available online here: https://www.hrnk.org/publications/hrnk-publications.php.
HRNK was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit research organization dedicated to documenting human rights conditions in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as North Korea is formally known. Visit www.hrnk.org to find out more.