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Human Rights in North Korea: EU must push for change

ECR MEP Anna Rosbach co-hosted and initiated a hearing in the European Parliament about Human Rights in North Korea.

ECR MEP Anna Rosbach co-hosted and initiated a hearing in the European Parliament about Human Rights in North Korea.

The main guest at the event was the most well-known defector from North Korea, Mr. Shin Dong-hyuk. Mr. Shin is the only known person to be born in the notorious Camp 14 and later to have escaped. His life was the subject of the 2012 bestselling book called “Escape from Camp 14″ by journalist Blaine Harden.

In the book Mr. Shin Dong-hyuk sums up his experiences:

‘I did not know about sympathy or sadness. They educated us from birth so that we were not capable of normal human emotions. Now that I am out, I am learning to be emotional. I feel like I am becoming human.”

The event was well attended with guests from both the European Institutions, NGO’s and Government representatives.

After the event ECR MEP Anna Rosbach expressed her deepest concern regarding the situation in North Korea. She hopes that the event will help strengthen the commitment in Europe towards reforms in North Korea.

Mrs. Anna Rosbach said:

“The persisting deterioration of human rights in North Korea is one of the modern world’s most grave cases of human tragedy. The amount of suffering endured by the North Korean people is beyond words”

“I was so happy to hear Mr. Shin Dong-hyuk speak here today. He embodies the tragedy of the North Korean totalitarian system. We need to stand together in the international community and continue working to open up the North Korean society”

“On 22 March 2013, the UN human rights council decided to establish a special UN commission of inquiry to examine human rights abuses in North Korea. This is a historical step towards ensuring accountability for North Korea.”

“However, International jurisdictions are still too weak and too fragmented to cope with the problems posed by North Korea. We need to use all means within our reach to promote reforms. China is an important player, but the EU can also do much”

“We need to look at the way aid is being distributed to North Korea. We must start making harder conditions for the North Korean Government. Aid doesn’t come for free.”

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