By Sophia Hapin, HRNK Research Intern
Edited by Rosa Park, HRNK Director of Programs and Carter Thompson, HRNK Research Intern
April 1, 2021
North Korea is the most oppressive regime in the world, in a state of seemingly endless humanitarian crisis. Yet, while the struggles of North Koreans have reached the attention of global, mainstream media, denuclearization remains the top priority of many governments and institutions. The threat of aggression from the regime is indeed prevalent, but international organizations and governments must jointly pursue national security interests without compromising or neglecting humanitarian aid with a human rights up front approach.
Photograph Credit: Roman Harak
By Tristin Schultz, HRNK Research Intern
Edited by Rosa Park, HRNK Director of Programs and Sophia Hapin, HRNK Research Intern
March 12, 2021
The March of Suffering [고난의 행군]
The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 had an immediate effect on the economic sustainability of ideologically aligned nations, many of which were economically, politically, and militarily dependent on the formers Soviet Union. Subsequently, following the expiration of their previous caretaker, and in an effort to avoid total economic catastrophe, ex-allies Cuba and Vietnam fortified their economic resilience through a diversification of trade partners. Conversely, Kim Il-sung and North Korea persevered with juche, or “self-reliance,” as the pièce de résistance of the regime. Consequently, from the erroneous emphasis on food self-sufficiency and perpetuated by an inability to effectively respond to exogenous supply shocks, emerged the Arduous March, a catastrophic famine in the 1990s that, by some estimates, led to the death of one million North Koreans or roughly five percent of the population.
Photograph Credit: Gage Skidmore
By Jane Kuper, HRNK Research Intern
Edited by Rosa Park, HRNK Director of Programs, and Sophia Hapin, HRNK Research Intern
March 10, 2021
There is no doubt that President Joe Biden has inherited some of the most difficult policy issues in recent history. Although he may be focused on issues like coronavirus relief, racial injustice, climate change, and immigration reform, America’s relationship with North Korea is an area that urgently needs attention. President Biden is likely to take a more traditional role than President Trump regarding foreign relations, but how will he address the human rights abuses committed by the regime?
From the Jerusalem of the East to a Totalitarian Regime: North Korea’s History Behind Christian Persecution
By Rebecca Pankratz, HRNK Research Intern
Edited by Rosa Park, HRNK Director of Programs and Editor, and Sophia Hapin, HRNK Research Intern
January 21, 2021
It is astonishing that Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, was once called the “Jerusalem of the East” for historically being one of the largest contributors to the spread of Christianity throughout Korea in 1907. This movement led to the conversion and rededication of thousands of people to the Christian faith, which made North Korea one of the main places for Christian seminaries and teachers in Asia. Today, the reality of Pyongyang is quite different. It is now controlled by a regime that sees religion, especially Christianity, as a threat to the worship of its leaders and to their communist party.
By Hayley Noah, HRNK Research Intern
Edited by Rosa Park, HRNK Director of Programs and Editor
December 2, 2020
The United States has multiple tools at its disposal that it can use to achieve its North Korea policy goals, including diplomatic, economic, and military tools, among others. This article will focus on two specific tools: the U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) alliance and the promotion of human rights in North Korea. While seemingly separate, they share the characteristic of representing a U.S. commitment to Korea. Taking these two factors into consideration highlights the importance of the U.S. commitment to Korea in achieving its national and international security goals.
HRNK staff members and interns wish to dedicate this program to our colleague Katty Chi. A native of Chile and graduate of the London School of Economics, Katty became a North Korean human rights defender in her early 20s. Katty was chief of international affairs with the North Korea Strategy Center (NKSC) in Seoul from 2010 to 2014 and worked with the Seoul Office of Liberty in North Korea (LinK) from 2019 to 2020. A remarkable member of our small North Korean human rights community, Katty brought inspiration and good humor to all. Katty passed away in Seoul this past May, at the young age of 32. She is survived by her parents and brother living in Chile. With the YPWP series, we endeavor to honor Katty’s life and work.