* Richardson has some interesting updates on the North Korean family that defected by sailing hundreds of miles to Japan in an open boat. The possession of “personal use” amounts of methamphetamine by one family member suggests that what we’ve heard is true — that drugs are increasingly available to ordinary North Koreans. What I don’t know is whether the son was a user, or whether the meth was part of their elaborate preparations, in this case, to help keep them awake during the journey.
* I don’t have Times Select and don’t plan on getting it, but if you have it, Nick Kristof has written an article about North Korea’s underground railroad. Let’s hope its tone is less ambivalent than other things Kristof has written on the subject, which have been full of gratuitous contempt for the conductors’ religious beliefs.
* Here’s a final reminder on the Freedom House panel tomorrow:
Washington , D.C.– Freedom House released a new report detailing crimes against humanity taking place in North Korea ‘s political prisoner camps in late May. Based on recent interviews with former North Korean political prisoners in the kwan-li-so or “control zone” labor camps, the report carefully details the criminal acts prohibited by Article 7 of the (Rome) Statute of the International Criminal Court that are being carried out in North Korea on a massive scale. Written by David Hawk, author of the acclaimed study Hidden Gulag: Exposing North Korea’s Prison Camps, the report also outlines the international forums where other states and non-governmental organizations can seek to persuade North Korea to improve its human rights record.
WHAT: Panel discussion, titled Concentrations of Inhumanity: A Discussion
WHO: Panelists include:
David Hawk, author, Concentrations of Inhumanity
David Scheffer, former US Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues
L. Gordon Flake, Executive Director, Mansfield Foundation
Jae H. Ku, Director, US-Korea Institute at SAIS
Thomas O. Melia, Deputy Executive Director, Freedom House
WHEN: Wednesday, June 6, 2007, 1:30-3:30pm
WHERE: National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW, 13th Floor, Holeman Lounge
Freedom House sponsored the writing and publication of this report in order to increase international recognition that the severe human rights violations taking place in North Korea constitute crimes against humanity. North Korea is the only country to have received Freedom House’s lowest possible scores for both political rights and civil liberties throughout the 35 years in which the organization has published its annual global survey, Freedom in the World.
Freedom House is an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world. To learn more about Freedom House’s North Korea program, visit www.nkfreedomhouse.org.