“Listen to the North Korean Defectors: Then You Will Know the Truth”
April 28-May 4, 2019
North Korea Freedom Week returns to Washington, D.C. this year with the 16th annual North Korea Freedom Week kicking off Sunday, April 28th with an international day of prayer and fasting for North Korea’s freedom and a wreath laying ceremony at the Korean War Memorial to be followed by a week of activities focused on promoting freedom for the people of North Korea people. This year’s theme is: Listen to the North Korean Defectors: Then You Will Know the Truth and events throughout the week will feature the testimonies of North Korean defectors to focus attention on the four major topics listed below.
Exposing Kim Jong Un’s Strategy: Latest Information from Inside North Korea: North Korean defectors who were elites in the regime will expose Kim Jong un’s strategy to maintain power and report on the latest information coming out of North Korea
Human Rights Abuses Against the DPRK Military: Eyewitnesses will expose the human rights abuses the Kim regime commits against the North Korean military from high ranking officers being publicly executed, the abuse of female soldiers and the use of the military to carry out the illegal activities for the regime
China’s complicity in the enslavement of North Korean women and children: Eyewitnesses will discuss the lack of human rights protections for North Korean women and children and how China’s complicity leads to their enslavement in both countries
How Women Created the North Korean Market System: While it is understood that North Korea now has a thriving market system, the role of North Korean women in creating that market system is underappreciated. Women who were part of the markets creation will tell their stories.
In addition to panels and briefings on the aforementioned topics, the North Korea Freedom Week delegation will participate in events ranging from a candlelight vigil to remember those repatriated back to North Korea to a demonstration at Chinese Central TV station. With the exception of private meetings, all events are open to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend.
Background: North Korea Freedom Week is an annual event held to promote the freedom, human rights and dignity of the North Korean people. It first began in 2004 in Washington, D.C., as North Korea Freedom Day, the largest gathering of individuals to promote human rights in North Korea that had ever been held outside the Korean peninsula. U.S. Members of Congress credited North Korea Freedom Day as being the key catalyst behind the passage of the North Korea Human Rights Act that same year. Since 2005, the event was expanded to a week and has included rallies, Congressional hearings, protests, film screenings, concerts, prayer vigils, exhibits, and other events specifically to promote awareness and action on behalf of the world’s most suffering people. The most important quality of North Korea Freedom Week has always been the significant participation of North Korean defectors who testify, speak out and provide eyewitness testimony. Among the many highlights of NKFW have been the opportunity for defectors to meet with President of the United States, Congressional hearings exposing the political prison camps, trafficking of North Korean women in China, the issue of South Korea and Japan abductees and South Korean POWs, North Korea’s illicit activities from proliferating nuclear technology to drug trafficking and counterfeiting. From 2004-2009, NKFW was held in Washington, D.C. and included events in New York City, while from 2010-2014, it was held in Seoul and included events in Busan. Since 2015, the week has alternated between the USA and South Korea. NKFW was established and co-chaired by Suzanne Scholte (North Korea Freedom Coalition) and Kim Seong Min (Free North Korea Radio). Regular updates for North Korea Freedom Week events will be sent out as more events are confirmed. Below is the preliminary plans for the visiting delegation and events so far: