On Monday, October 28, 2013, the International Law and Conflict Resolution Center at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies hosted a Special Lecture with Dr. Suzanne Scholte, President of the Defense Forum Foundation.
In a speech titled “Will North Korea Ever Be Free? Reflections from the Front Lines in the Battle for Human Rights in North Korea,” Dr. Scholte gave an overview of the current human rights situation inside North Korea. Calling it the “worst human rights tragedy occurring in the world today,” she discussed the widespread suffering that North Korea’s citizens continue to endure. She noted that the North Korea regime’s cruel repatriation policy has led to over 80% of North Korean women to be exploited by human traffickers.
Dr. Scholte nonetheless expressed optimism for the future. She pointed out that the population is increasingly getting information from the outside world and is no longer dependent on the Kim regime to survive. She also offered six recommendations to better help the North Korean people.
1. We need to continue to pressure the government of China kowtowing to the regime in North Korea.
2. We must never again sideline human rights concerns the failed belief that North Korea will ever give up its nuclear weapons.
3. We must not fund this regime ever again.
4. The South Korean Assembly must act in unity on this issue and pass a North Korea Human Rights Act.
5. We must empower the North Korean defectors and support their efforts.
6. We must assure the North Korean elites that they would have a stake in the future if North Korea opens up to reform.
Dr. Scholte concluded by stating that:
“It is inevitable that North Korea will be free and Korea will finally be unified. When that happens, I promise you this as
someone who has worked on this issue for 17 years, we will be even more horrified and shocked at the atrocities committed by the triple Kim dictatorships ― atrocities that today are beyond our imagination.
The North Korean people, the majority of whom I believe want to see change come to their country, will ask us the same questions the world was asked when the Allies liberated the Nazi death camps. South Koreans will especially have to face these questions: “What did you know and what did you do to stop our suffering?” It is inevitable that freedom will come to North Korea and now is the time to act so what when unification comes we can proudly answer that question.”
– Date/Time: Monday, October 28, 2013/ 10:30AM-12:00PM
– Venue: Auditorium (1F), The Asan Institute for Policy Studies
To view Dr. Scholte’s full remarks, please download the pdf link at the top of this page.