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Forum on North Korean Human Rights and Engagement

EAHRNK’s notice of their upcoming one-day conference on North Korean Human Rights and Engagement:

Rethinking our Approach to Media Reporting, Human Rights, and Engagement with North Korea

European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea – EAHRNK Forum: Rethinking our Approach to Media Reporting, Human Rights, and Engagement with North Korea to be held at Amnesty International’s Human Rights Action Centre, 17 October 2014.

We are delighted to announce our second annual forum on engagement, human rights and media reporting. In the year since our last forum, a member of the Kim family was executed and the regime has continued to clamp down on border crossing, engagement has continued to fail in its objectives, and the media continues to publish sensationalist and false reporting. Beginning with a keynote speech by John Everard, our annual forum aims to dissect issues which impinge upon improvement of human rights in order to provide a clear way forward for developing policy which engages and empowers North Koreans. To do that, rigourous research is necessary. This forum marks the launch of a major EAHRNK research project for the next year, and beyond, on Simhwajo.

Beginning in 1997 and instigated by Kim Jong-il, the Simhwajo purge was without a doubt the most bloody of all the purges in North Korean history. In a period lasting under 3 years, approximately 20,000 officials were purged or executed. The lack of the extent of awareness of the Simhwajo purge was seen following the purge of Jang Song-taek – several English-language articles tried to map out purges in the DPRK, excluding Simhwajo in every single case. Even though the Simhwajo purge was nearly 15 years ago, it is important to document the cases of human rights abuses throughout this period not only for historical record, but also to continue building up the framework for correctly understanding modern-day North Korea. At the forum, our North Korean Outreach and Project Coordinator will present an outline report on Simhwajo, followed by testimony from a North Korean.

Fitting in with other belief that the media’s treatment of North Korea helps entrench the opacity of the country, David Bell will present a research paper on perceptions of imagery in contemporary approaches to reporting on North Korea. His paper will be followed by testimony – via videolink – from a North Korean on the subject of propaganda and art.

Ben Willis will round out the day’s research by presenting a paper on the international reaction to the human rights situation in North Korea through a Right-to-Protect lens.

To provide further evidence of the human rights abuses in North Korea, we will continue our public testimonies on life in North Korea at the forum for our North Korean Memoirs platform. We will be joined by 3 North Koreans who will provide testimony on life in the North Korean army, women’s rights, and life in a labour camp.

To dissect the impact of the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) and North Korea’s recent report on human rights, we will joined by two North Korean exiles who will discuss the reports, their impact, and the way forward.

The various strands of the forum will be brought together in the final session of the day in which 2 guest speakers will analyse and provide opinions on policy which can help mitigate the worst abuses and help engage and empower North Koreans.

EAHRNK Forum: Rethinking our Approach to Media Reporting, Human Rights, and Engagement with North Korea

Venue: Amnesty International’s Human Rights Action Centre
Date: 17 October
Time: 9am – 6pm
Registration: 9.00am – 9.30am
Please note that lunch will not be provided.

For more information about the event or organisation, visit our website – – or contact Michael Glendinning via [email protected]


9.00am – 9.30am Registration
9.30am – 9.45am Keynote Speech by John Everard, former British ambassador to North Korea
9.45am – 10.30am EAHRNK Research Launch: Simhwajo

Drawing on a subject which is largely undocumented in the English language, Jihyun Park, EAHRNK’s North Korean Outreach and Project Coordinator, will present a paper outlining some of the events of Simhwajo, a purge of over 20,000 North Korean officials in the late 1990s.

This paper marks the launch of an ongoing EAHRNK research project on Simhwajo.

10.30am – 11.10am Testimony from a former high-ranking official on Simhwajo (via Skype)
11.10am – 11.50am “Beyond the Lens: Imagery and North Korea,” by David Bell
11.50am – 12.30pm Testimony from a former North Korean propaganda artist (via Skype)
12.30pm – 1.30pm Lunch. Please note that lunch will NOT be provided
1.30pm – 2.10pm “North Korea and the Responsibility to Protect,” by Ben Willis
2.10pm – 3.30pm North Korean Memoirs: Testimonies & Q&As with 3 North Koreans
3.30pm – 3.40pm Break
3.40pm – 4.40pm North Korea’s response to the COI: Panel discussion featuring 2 North Korean exiles
4.45pm – 6.00pm Roundtable on European policies towards North Korea. Guest speakers to be announced shortly.

Register for free by visiting:

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