December 07, 2023

Activists fear North Korean human rights issues increasingly met with a shrug

Intransigence of problem and lack of government emphasis cited as possible reasons for growing indifference

It’s been 26 years since Hyangsu Park last saw her family in North Korea, ethnic Koreans from Japan who were among the approximately 87,000 Zainichi to emigrate to the DPRK until the mid-1980s. And based on what she’s heard about the horrors they’ve experienced, she doubts she’ll ever see them again.

Through a defector, Park learned that North Korean authorities arrested her uncle and beat him to death for allegedly criticizing Kim Jong Il. Her uncle’s wife and children were then sent to a political prison camp and withered away without food, Park heard. She presumes they died of malnutrition after their release.