December 06, 2023

Slow But Notable Progress on North Korean Human Rights

The final lecture in NKnet’s North Korean Human Rights speaker series was on Wednesday May 16th. The evening’s theme was the role of the international community and various ways expatriates and students living in Seoul can get involved with the North Korean human rights movement. NKnet invited Joanna Hosaniak from Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights and their own Dan Bielefeld to comment on these topics.

First, Hosaniak shared how she began working for Citizens’ Alliance and her work lobbying for human rights at the United Nations. She shed light on the inner workings of an NGO’s lobbying procedures, noting specific difficulties and successes her organization experienced. One difficultly she mentioned had to do with garnering support for North Korean human rights in the international community. According to Hosaniak there isn’t much information on North Korean human rights in other languages. Furthermore, the network of NGOs concerned with the issue is largely limited to organizations based in America, Europe and South Korea. Hosaniak noted the unfortunate lack of such a network in Africa, South America or South East Asia. She believes that expanding the support base for North Korean human rights to include governments and NGOs from these regions is “necessary in order to bring the issue to the forefront.” Broadening the scope of organizations working on North Korean human rights would increase the number of parties who can lobby the North Korean government, which would translate to increased pressure on the regime.