North Korea’s human rights abuses: The crimes of a belligerent state - AEI

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Event Summary

On Monday at AEI, experts and senior officials engaged in the development of human rights in North Korea gathered to commemorate the third anniversary of the “Report of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

AEI President Arthur C. Brooks offered a sobering reminder that the Kim family regime maintains the most dreadful gulag system in the world today. Panelists William Newcomb, Go Myung-Hyun, and Joshua Stanton offered an expert update on how to put pressure on the Kim regime financially by imposing sanctions and reducing the numbers of North Korean overseas workers.

Justice Michael Kirby and Joanna Hosaniak discussed the mechanisms available under international law to hold the Kim regime accountable. Amb. Robert King also stressed the importance of individual states taking action to hold North Korea accountable. David Maxwell, Sung-han Kim, and Taehyo Kim spoke of the strategic challenges to safeguarding human rights Korean Peninsula.

In conclusion, H. E. Ahn Ho-Young, Amb. Jung-Hoon Lee, Greg Scarlatoiu, and AEI’s Nicholas Eberstadt reminded everyone that US–Republic of Korea coordination on North Korean human rights policy will be essential, despite shifting political circumstances.
–Cecilia Joy Perez

Event Description

Pyongyang is the world’s worst human rights violator, and yet, the Kim regime’s behavior at home cannot be dismissed as an isolated threat far from America’s shores, as North Korea’s latest atrocities abroad — overseas assassinations, rocket launches, and nuclear threats — demonstrate. For US policy, defending human rights in North Korea is not only a moral imperative but also an essential element to reducing the danger the regime poses to the world.

Please join AEI, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, and the Yonsei Center for Human Liberty on March 27 — the third anniversary of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s endorsement of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights report on North Korea — for an expert update on the human rights situation in North Korea and a discussion of how Washington and its allies in the region can seek to improve it.

Join the conversation on social media with @AEI on Twitter and Facebook.


9:45 AM

10:00 AM
Arthur C. Brooks, AEI
Nicholas Eberstadt, AEI
Jung-Hoon Lee, Republic of Korea ambassador for North Korean human rights
Greg Scarlatoiu, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea

10:30 AM
Panel I: North Korea today: Belligerence and human rights denial

Joanna Hosaniak, Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights
Robert King, former US special envoy on North Korean human rights
Go Myung-Hyun, The Asan Institute for Policy Studies
Greg Scarlatoiu, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea

Jung-Hoon Lee, Republic of Korea ambassador for North Korean human rights

12:00 PM

12:45 PM
Luncheon conversation:
Nicholas Eberstadt, AEI
Michael Kirby, former chief, UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea

1:50 PM
Panel II: Tackling the North Korean conundrum

Taehyo Kim, Sungkyunkwan University
Sung-han Kim, former Republic of Korea vice minister of foreign affairs
David Maxwell, Georgetown University; Committee for Human Rights in North Korea
William Newcomb, 38 North
Joshua Stanton, One Free Korea

Nicholas Eberstadt, AEI

3:20 PM
Closing remarks:
H. E. Ahn Ho-Young, Republic of Korea ambassador to the United States

3:35 PM
Closing statements:
Nicholas Eberstadt, AEI
Jung-Hoon Lee, Republic of Korea ambassador for North Korean human rights
Greg Scarlatoiu, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea

3:40 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Cecilia Joy Perez at [email protected], 202.862.7190.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries or to register a camera crew, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829

Speaker Biographies

Arthur C. Brooks is president of AEI. He has served as president since January 1, 2009. He is also the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise. Before joining AEI, Dr. Brooks was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where he taught economics and social entrepreneurship. Before his work in academia and public policy, he spent 12 years as a classical musician in the United States and Spain. Dr. Brooks is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and the bestselling author of 11 books on topics including the role of government, fairness, economic opportunity, happiness, and the morality of free enterprise. His latest book is the New York Times bestseller “The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America” (Broadside Books, 2015). He has also published dozens of academic journal articles and the textbook “Social Entrepreneurship” (Prentice Hall, 2008). Dr. Brooks has a Ph.D. and an M.Phil. in policy analysis from the Pardee Rand Graduate School. He also holds an M.A. in economics from Florida Atlantic University and a B.A. in economics from Thomas Edison State College.

Nicholas Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at AEI, where he researches and writes extensively on demographics and economic development generally, and more specifically on international security in the Korean peninsula and Asia. Domestically, he focuses on poverty and social well-being. Dr. Eberstadt is also a senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). His many books and monographs include “The End of North Korea” (AEI Press, 1999); “The Poverty of the Poverty Rate” (AEI Press, 2008); and “Russia’s Peacetime Demographic Crisis” (NBR, 2010). His latest book is “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis” (Templeton Press, 2016). He has offered invited testimony before Congress on numerous occasions and has served as consultant or adviser for a variety of units in the US government. His appearances on radio and television range from NPR to CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” Dr. Eberstadt has a Ph.D. in political economy and government, an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government, and a B.A. from Harvard University. In addition, he holds a master’s of science from the London School of Economics. In 2012, Dr. Eberstadt was awarded the prestigious Bradley Prize.

Joanna Hosaniak has been with the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights (NKHR) in Seoul since 2004, currently working as the deputy director of the organization. Before joining NKHR, she worked at the South Korean Embassy in Poland and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. She majored in Korean studies at Warsaw University (M.A.), completed a six-month human rights course for activists in 2003, and has been awarded Ph.D. degree in international studies at Sogang University, South Korea, in February 2016. Her dissertation discussed transitional justice systems in Central Europe. In December 2012, she headed the delegation of North Korean victims that met with the UN high commissioner for human rights. That meeting resulted in the subsequent statement from the commissioner calling for establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry for the DPRK. In 2016, she led the advocacy to establish the UN panel of experts on accountability in the DPRK. She is an author of several thematic reports on human rights situation in North Korea. Dr. Hosaniak was conferred a title of Seoul Honorary Citizen by the mayor of Seoul in 2013 and received the Bene Merito Award in 2015 from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was also named as “100 future leaders of Korea” by Donga Daily in 2013. She is a lecturer at the Underwood International College of Yonsei University in Seoul.

H. E. Ahn Ho-Young was appointed ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Republic of Korea to the United States by President Park Geun-hye in May 2013. From February 2012 to May 2013, he served as first vice minister of foreign affairs and trade. Before this, he served as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Republic of Korea to the Kingdom of Belgium and to the European Union. From 2008 to 2011, he was the deputy minister for trade at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during which time he served as President Lee Myung-bak’s sherpa to the G20 and G8 outreach meetings. Ambassador Ahn joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in August 1978. He was first stationed abroad as second secretary at the Korean Embassy in the Republic of India in July 1984. Subsequently, from January 1990 through 1992, he served as first secretary at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Washington, DC. In January 1993, he was appointed director of the Treaties Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He served as director of the International Trade Division in 1994, after which he was appointed counsellor to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development. From December 1998 until 2001, Ambassador Ahn served as counsellor to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations Organizations. Subsequently, he served as deputy director-general of the International Trade Law Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, director-general of the Multilateral Trade Bureau, and director-general of the Economic Cooperation Bureau at the Ministry of Finance and Economy. Ambassador Ahn studied international relations at Seoul National University (B.A.) and Georgetown University (M.S.F.S). He also studied international law at the Korea National Open University (LL.B.) and Georgetown University (LL.M.). He previously taught at Korea University as an adjunct professor of law and diplomacy. He is a recipient of the Great Cross Order of Bernardo O’Higgins, the highest civilian honor awarded to non-Chilean citizens, and the Order of Service Merit, which is Korea’s top award for public officials.

Sung-han Kim is a dean and professor of international relations at the Graduate School of International Studies and director of Ilmin International Relations Institute at Korea University. He served as a vice minister of foreign affairs and trade in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2012­–13. He was a professor from 1994 to 2007 at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security. In 2013–14, Dr. Kim was the chair of World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Weapons of Mass Destruction. He is now the president of the Korean National Committee of the Council on Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific, president of Korean Association of American Politics, and chairman of the Vision Council for the ROK-US Security Policy Initiative. He was previously the vice president of the Korean Association of International Studies. He served as a member of the Presidential Commission for National Security Review (May–August 2010) and the Presidential Commission for Defense Reform (July–December 2010). His has recently been published in Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, Orbis, and The Washington Quarterly. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Robert King became the special envoy for North Korean human rights issues in November 2009 following confirmation by the US Senate. Before his appointment, he worked on Capitol Hill for 25 years — 24 of those years as the chief of staff to Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA). He was concurrently the staff director of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives (2007–08) and democratic staff director of the committee (2001–07), and he has held various professional staff positions on the committee since 1993. He holds a Ph.D. in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He has authored five books and more than 40 articles on international relations.

Michael Kirby is an international jurist, educator, and former judge. He served as a deputy president of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission (1975–83), chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1975–84), judge of the Federal Court of Australia (1983–84), president of the New South Wales Court of Appeal (1984–96), president of the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands (1995–96), and justice of the High Court of Australia (1996–2009). He has undertaken many international activities for the United Nations, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the Global Fund Against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. He was also elected president of the International Commission of Jurists (1995–98). His recent international activities have included member of the Eminent Persons Group on the Future of the Commonwealth of Nations (2010–11), commissioner of the United Nations Development Programme Global Commission on HIV and the Law (2011–12); chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry on DPRK (North Korea) (2013–14); and member of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Access to Essential Healthcare (2015–16). He is an honorary professor at 12 Australian and overseas universities. In 1991, he was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal. In 1998, he was named laureate of the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education. In 2010 he was named cowinner of the Gruber Justice Prize. In 2011 he received the inaugural Australian Privacy Medal. The honorary degrees of doctor of letters, doctor of laws, and doctor of the university have been conferred on him by universities in Australia and overseas.

Jung-Hoon Lee is the Republic of Korea government’s inaugural ambassador for north human rights. Before his appointment in September 2016, he served for three years as ambassador for human rights. He is also a tenured faculty at Yonsei University, where he founded the Yonsei Center for Human Liberty (YCHL). The YCHL has played an active role in raising global awareness of North Korean human rights violations. His former positions include research and teaching at University of Tokyo, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Keio University, and University of California, Berkeley. He is currently a senior member of South Korea’s National Unification Advisory Council and policy adviser at the Ministry of Unification. He received his B.A. from Tufts University, master’s of arts in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School, and D.Phil. from the University of Oxford.

David Maxwell serves on the board of directors for the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. He is a 30-year veteran of the US Army, and he retired as a special forces colonel with his final assignment being serving on the military faculty teaching national security at the National War College. He spent the majority of his military service overseas with more than 20 years in Asia, primarily in Korea, Japan, and the Philippines. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a B.A. in political science and has masters’ degrees in military arts and science and national security studies from the US Army Command and General Staff College, the School of Advanced Military Studies, and the National War College of the National Defense University. He received his commission from the Officer Candidate School in 1981. He is also a fellow at the Institute of Corean-American Studies and on the board of directors of the International Council of Korean Studies, the Special Operations Research Association, and the Small Wars Journal. He is a life member of the Special Forces Association and the National War College Alumni Association. He is studying in the doctorate of liberal studies program at Georgetown University.

Go Myong-Hyun is a research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. Previously, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, Neuropsychiatry Institute. His research applies quantitative perspectives to traditional and nontraditional security issues. His latest publications include “In China’s Shadow: Exposing North Korean Overseas Network” (2016) and “The Prevalence of Deaths and Disease in Chongori Prison” (2017). Dr. Go is widely cited by the international media on North Korea, with special focus on the economy, sanctions, and the regime’s long-term strategy. He is a Munich Young Leader of Munich Security Conference 2015, and he received his Ph.D. in policy analysis from the Pardee Rand Graduate School.

William Newcomb was a member of the panel of experts on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Sanctions at the United Nations Security Council from 2011 to 2014. Previously, he has occupied senior economist positions at the US Treasury Department and the Department of State and has worked extensively on Asian economies. He has studied economic developments in North Korea for more than 30 years and, between 2002 and 2005, was deputy coordinator of the US State Department’s North Korea Working Group.

Greg Scarlatoiu is the executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), where he has directed the publication of 24 reports and books and leads public, media, and international organization outreach to highlight North Korean human rights abuses. He has appeared as an expert witness at several congressional hearings on North Korean human rights. His recent publications include op-eds for The Washington Post and The Washington Times and journal articles and book chapters for the International Council of Korean Studies, the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, and the Hanns Seidel Foundation. He is an experienced social audit consultant, having conducted 11 annual surveys of compliance with the International Labor Organization core conventions in South Korea. Before HRNK, he was with Korea Economic Institute. Mr. Scarlatoiu has worked with the International Labor Organization’s Department for the Activity of Multinational Enterprises in Geneva, Switzerland. He has more than six years of experience in international development, having delivered technical assistance under missions funded by the United States Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. For 14 years, he has been authoring and broadcasting the weekly Scarlatoiu Column to North Korea for Radio Free Asia. Mr. Scarlatoiu is a visiting professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, and he teaches and coordinates the Korean peninsula and Japan class at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. He holds a master of arts in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and an M.A. and B.A. from Seoul National University, Department of International Relations. He was awarded the title of Citizen of Honor, City of Seoul, in January 1999.

Joshua Stanton is the author of the blog One Free Korea, which was the first to identify and publish satellite imagery of three North Korean prison camps, Camp 16 (Hwasong), Camp 25 (Chongjin), and Camp 12 (Cheongo-ri). He is also an attorney in Washington, DC, with 21 years of military and civilian experience in criminal and civil litigation and administrative law. Between 1998 and 2002, he served as a US Army judge advocate in Seoul, Taegu, and Pyeongtaek, Republic of Korea. He has been cited or quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Reuters, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, and The New York Times, and his opinions have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, The Wall Street Journal, CNN International, and an upcoming edition of Foreign Affairs. Since April 2013, he has assisted congressional staff members of both chambers and both parties with the drafting of North Korea–related legislation and correspondence. He is the author of “North Korea: The Myth of Maxed-Out Sanctions” (Fletcher Security Review, 2015) and “Arsenal of Terror: North Korea, State Sponsors of Terrorism” (Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, 2015).

Kim Taehyo is professor at the Department of Political Science, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. He is also vice president and director for international cooperation at the New Asia Research Institute and editor of the New Asia Journal. Dr. Kim’s research focus centers on security strategy and security relations in Northeast Asia. His books include “Foreign Policy in the 21st Century” (Myung-in Books, 2016), “The Future of U.S.-Korea-Japan Relations: Balancing Values and Interests” (CSIS Press, 2004), and “Korea-Japan Security Relations: Prescriptive Studies” (Oruem Publishing House, 2000), and he has published more than 70 papers in security-related journals. He was previously deputy national security adviser (2008–12) and professor at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (200205). He earned a B.A. from Sogang University, an M.A. from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He was awarded the Nakasone Peace Prize (2009) and a medal for distinguished service in the government (2012).

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