19th North Korea Freedom Week


Press Release

This year marks the 19th anniversary of the North Korea Freedom Week (NKFW), which was declared in April 2004 by the North Korea Freedom Coalition, a leading U.S. North Korea human rights group, and both national and international North Korean defector organizations.

The NKFW is a movement for North Korean defectors to topple Kim Jong Un’s dictatorship, which has inflicted intolerable suffering on the North Korean people, and to liberate them, who have been living as spiritual slaves of Kim Jong Un.  
The NKFW, which started with the slogan of “Free North Korea” in the open space of Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on April 28th, 2004, has been set for every last week of April as our week of action, but this year, due to COVID-19 and the South Korean presidential election, it is set from September 25th to October 1st.  

Below, you will find the NKFW schedule (chart). We ask for your interest and media coverage.  


2004년 4월 미국의 대표적 북한 인권단체인 ‘북한자유연합’과 국내외 탈북단체 탈북민단체들에 의해 선포된 ‘북한 자유 주간’이 올해로 19회 차를 맞고 있습니다. 

‘북한 자유 주간’은 북조선 인민들에게 말할 수 없는 고통을 들씌운 김정은 독재정권을 무너뜨리고, 김정은의 정신적 노예로 사는, 북조선 인민들을 해방하기 위한 탈북민들의 북한 자유화 운동입니다. 

2004년 4월 28일 미 상원의 북한인권법 통과를 촉구하며 워싱턴 의회 공터에서 외쳤던 ‘자유 북한’의 구호가 발단이 된 ‘북한 자유 주간’은 매해 4월 마지막 주를 행동 주간으로 정해왔지만, 올해는 코로나19와 한국의 대선 관계로 9월 25일부터 10월 1일까지로 정해졌습니다. 

아래에 이 일주일간의 일정(표)을 소개하면서, 관심과 취재 부탁드립니다. 

The 19th North Korea Freedom Week Schedule of Events

Saturday, September 24 

7 pm Organization Heads Meeting Before Dinner [Key Supporters from Korean, Japanese, and U.S. Delegations]

Host: Kim Seong-min, NKFW Preparatory Committee, Koreana Hotel Coffee Shop, 135, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul 

Sunday, September 25 

10 – 12 pm Special Service for the Successful NKFW

Host: Pastor Kang Chul-ho, Sae Teo Church 
Location: Sae Teo Church (5th Floor, 6-23, Mokdongnam-ro 4-gil, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul)

2 – 3 pm Flower Dedication Ceremony for Freedom Heroes

Host: Choi Jung-hoon, NK Liberation Front
Location: War Memorial of Korea (29, Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul) 

7 – 9 pm The 19th NKFW Music Concert

Host: Rev. Lawrence Lee, Suzanne Scholte, and Pastor Sung Sang-mo
Location: Hi-Seoul-Youth-Hostel (57, Yeongsin-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul)

Monday, September 26 

2 – 3:30 pm The 19th NKFW Opening Ceremony

Host: Huh Kwnag-il, The Association of North Korea Human Rights Organizations 
Location: Foreign Reporter Club, Seoul Press Center 18th Floor (124, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul) 

4 – 6 pm Forcible Repatriation of North Korea Defector, “Special Press Conference on False Murder Confession Fact-Finding Committee”

Host: Kang Chul-hwan, North Korea Strategy Center 
Location: Foreign Reporter Club, Seoul Press Center 18th Floor (124, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul)

7 – 9 pm Seminar on the North Korea Salvation Unification Gospel

Host: Lee Yong-hee, Esther Prayer Movement 
Location: 5, Beodeunaru-ro 14 ga-gil, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul

Tuesday, September 27 

10 – 12 pm Press Conference on Requesting for the Prompt Establishment of North Korea Human Rights Foundation

Host: Kim Tae-hoon, Corp. North Korea Human Rights
Location: Press Conference Room, Seoul Press Center 19th Floor (124, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul)

 2 – 4 pm Denunciation of the North Korean Government’s Terror Threats against North Korean Defector Activists, “Listening to the Voices of North Korean Defector Organization Heads Calling for the South Korean Government’s Response”

Host: Choi Jung-hoon, NK Liberation Front 
Location: Conference Room (7), the National Assembly  (1, Uisadang-daero, Yeongdeunpo-gu, Seoul) 

Wednesday, September 28 

AM Yongsan Executive Office Visit (Expected) 

       Meeting with the Minister of Unification (Expected)

      Meeting with Amb. Lee Shin-ah (Expected) 

5 – 7 pm Forum for New Media Information Utilization for the Promotion of North Koreans’ Right to Information

Host: Kim Heung-kwang, NK Intellectual Association 
Location: KTX Conference Room, Seoul Metro Station 4th Floor (405, Hangang-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul) 

Thursday, September 29 

10 – 12 pm Accusation of Repatriation of Korean-Japanese to North Korea and Human Rights Violations

Host: Ahn Chan-il, International North Korea Research Center 
Location: Conference Room (2), the National Assembly (1, Uisadang-daero, Yeongdeunpo-gu, Seoul) 

1 – 3 pm Strategic Discussion on Hwang Jang-yop’s Observation on Liberal Democracy and the Democratization of North Korea

Host: Huh Kwang-il, CDNK
Location: Conference Room (6), the National Assembly (1, Uisadang-daero, Yeongdeunpo-gu, Seoul)   

4 – 7 pm Tasks and Roles of North Korean Defector College Students for the Liberation of North Korea

Host: Lim Chang-ho, NKHRD
Location: State Room, The Koreana Hotel 7th Floor (135, Sejong-daero, Jung-gun, Seoul)

Friday, September 30 

9 – 12 pm One Korea International Forum (Korean, Japanese, and English simultaneous translations will be provided) 

Host(s): Global Peace Foundation, NKFC, Action of Korea United, One Korea Foundation, Korea of All, and International Solidarity for North Korea’s Freedom of Religion and Faith
Location: Press Conference Room, Seoul Press Center 19th Floor (124, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul)

2 – 4 pm Protest against the CCP’s Forcible Repatriation of North Korean Refugees

Host: NKFC, The Association of North Korea Human Rights Organizations, and The National Association of North Korean Defectors 
Location: The PRC Embassy (Myeongdong 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul) 

5 – 7 pm Evening Prayer Service for the Salvation of the People of North Korea

Host: Pastor Lee Phillip, Yeolbangsam Church 
Location: Yeolbangsam Church (3rd Floor, 28, Gocheok-ro, Guro-gu, Seoul) 

Saturday, October 1 

10 – 12 pm The 5th Memorial Ceremony for Freedom Fighters/Information Campaign of North Korean Defector Organizations (Talk Show) 

Host: Jang Se-yul, NKPLF
Location: Sae Teo Church (5th Floor, 6-23, Mokdongnam-ro 4-gil, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul)

5 – 7 pm Let’s Have the 20th NKFW in Pyongyang! (The Night for the NKFW Supporters) 

Host: Kim Heung-kwang, The NKFW Steering Committee
Location: Foreign Reporter Club, Seoul Press Center 18th Floor (124, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul)   

South Korea’s Refugee Policy in the Yoon Administration: A New Openness to International Standards?

Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on “South Korea’s Refugee Policy and the Yoon Administration: A New Openness to International Standards?” 

Hosted by:

Christopher H. Smith
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC

James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC


  • Jong-Chul Kim, Esq. Senior Researcher, Advocates for Public Interest Law
  • Ethan Hee-Seok Shin, Ph.D., Legal Analyst, Transitional Justice Working Group
  • Moon Jun Sohn, M.D., Ph.D., Director, We All Friends (NGO), Professor, Neurological Surgery, Ilsan Paik Hospital, Inje University, Korea
  • Suzanne Scholte, Ph.D., Seoul Peace Prize Laureate and Chair, North Korea Freedom Coalition
  • Kennji Kizuka, Associate Director, Research & Analysis, Refugee Protection, Human Rights First


Continue reading “South Korea’s Refugee Policy in the Yoon Administration: A New Openness to International Standards?”

June Action Items

For Residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia

NKFC members living in Virginia are sending a letter of thanks to Virginia Senator Tim Kaine for joining Senator Marco Rubio as an original co sponsor of the North Korea Human Rights Reauthorization Act. If you live in Virginia and would like to join, email me and we will send you the letter to review and sign at: 

HRNK and IBA Press Conference on Monday to Release Report Findings on Crimes Vs. Humanity in North Korea’s Detention Centers

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea and the International Bar Association invite you to the public release of their Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korean Detention Centers.  The release will be held on Monday, June 27 from 9:30a.m. to 11:00 am EST at the National Press Club (529 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20045). Three renowned international jurists – who, together, have presided over the most consequential international criminal tribunals since the Nuremberg trials – will deliver remarks.  Announcement and Information here: 


May Action Items

International Day of Prayer and Fasting for North Korea’s FREEDOM Prayer Service: I am pleased to share the links to last month’s interactive prayer service for the International Day of Prayer and Fasting for North Korea’s Freedom.We received many positive response and hundreds of people participated from all over the world. You can imagine what that meant to the North Korean escapees! It was be an amazing time to lift this country and its people to the Lord for their freedom and human rights during this prayer service as we all prepared to fast and pray all over the world for North Korea’s freedom.  Here is the link to watch online in either English or Korean:



NKFC’s UN Panel Unshackle the Women of North Korea: Once again, the North Korea Freedom Coalition hosted a panel during the UN Commission on the Status of Women to specifically focus on the women of North Korea. You can hear from courageous North Korean women who shared their eyewitness testimonies about the human rights conditions North Korean women face in North Korea, China, as overseas workers, and the struggles the survivors face in South Korea especially separated mothers and children. Here is the link for watching online: https://nkfc.link/CSW2022

Prayer Service for the International Day of Prayer and Fasting for North Korea’s FREEDOM

Dear Friends:

It gives me great pleasure to invite you to join a very special prayer service with North Korean defector pastors and others to launch the 

International Day of Prayer and Fasting for North Korea’s FREEDOM which will be held around the world on April 28th.  

We are holding this virtual online prayer service on April 27th 7-8:30 pm EST/April 28th 8 am-9:30 am Korea that will include simultaneous translation in Korean and English of prayers and testimonies for North Korea’s freedom as we kick off our international day of prayer and fasting.  This will be an amazing time to lift this country and its people to the Lord for their freedom and human rights.

To register to participate in this special online prayer service, visit https://nkfc.link/april27

Also, remember the April 28th website will have resources for all who are praying and fasting for North Korean’s freedom on April 28th. https://april28.org/

Acta Non Verba,


Fate of North Korean Refugees in China Presents an Historic Opportunity for Moon

By Suzanne Scholte, Seoul Peace Prize Laureate

For these closing weeks of his Presidency, President Moon Jae-in has an unprecedented and historic opportunity before him: to literally save the lives of hundreds of North Korean refugees currently detained in the People’s Republic of China.  These unprecedented and historic factors have put Moon in a position to save the lives of innocent children, women and men who were simply seeking a better life.  Here’s why: first, North Korea’s border remains closed making it impossible over the last two years for China to forcefully repatriate any North Koreans back to North Korea.   In fact, terrified of the COVID pandemic, North Korea was one of the first nations to close its border.  Second, South Korean did not join the United States and other nations last month to boycott the Beijing Olympics.  Hence, South Korea is in a better position than most democratic nations who did to request humanitarian consideration for these refugees who face certain beatings, torture, imprisonment and even execution if they are forced back to North Korea.  Their repatriation is likely to happen as soon as the border reopens as China wants them gone.  An illustration of how much China wants to depopulate their detention centers is the fact that last year they released female North Korean refugees, who were victims of trafficking, back into the hands of their abusers because they could not force them back to North Korea.

Those North Koreans remaining in detention in China are in especially grave danger because they escaped in a time when escaping North Korea is more difficult than ever. This means they had to have resources, and to have resources, they must fall into two categories: they are elite Korean Worker’s Party members with access to resources OR they had family in the Republic of Korea that provided support to get them out of North Korea.  And what is the fate for members of the Korean Workers party when they are repatriated to North Korea: death by either public execution or slow death in a political prison camp.  And what does the DPRK do to North Koreans when it discovers they were trying to get to South Korea: death either by public execution or slow death in a political prison camp.

Thus, Moon is the one person in the world today who can save all these Korean children, women, and men from death by requesting that China allow them safe passage as a humanitarian gesture.  It is also an historic time because once again Kim Jong Un is relentlessly testing missiles, and it is an historic fact that China has shown a willingness to allow large numbers of North Korean refugees’ safe passage to the Republic of Korea to show its displeasure with the DPRK’s missile tests. Moon said during his last address before the United Nations that he would work to build “a Korean Peninsula that promotes shared prosperity and cooperation,” and that he would “make ceaseless efforts until my very last day in office.”

As long as Kim Jong Un denies human rights to the people of North Korea there can be no shared prosperity for Koreans living north of the DMZ, and thus those refugees currently held in China can only have prosperity and a future if Moon will act on their behalf.

It could be the greatest, most lasting impact of his Presidency as he could literally rescue refugees being led away to death.  Who knows if among these refugees is a future President of South Korea as it is important to remember that Moon’s own family were also once refugees? During the Korean War when U.S. Navy and Merchant Marine ships safely rescued nearly 100,000 North Korea civilians from Hungnam and safely relocated them to South Korea for resettlement, it was Moon’s own family that was among the rescued.  Because of that rescue Moon was given the opportunity of freedom and prosperity and a future in South Korea to become the President of the Republic of Korea.

Over 20 former U.S. Government officials recently wrote a bipartisan appeal to President Moon calling for his help for these specific refugees writing, “We hope that you will seize this opportunity as it would be an amazing legacy of your administration if you were to safely rescue these children, women and men before you leave office in May.”  The signatories were officials who served in every U.S. Presidential administration since the 1970s including Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Please, President Moon, this an historic opportunity to act on their behalf!

March Action Items for North Korea’s Freedom and Human Rights

Dear Friends: 

Some action items for your consideration and some great news to report!  First up, please consider joining the following events.

Acta Non Verba,


Join the Team Organizing the International Day of Prayer and Fasting for North Korea to be held April 27/28th

The anniversary of the very first North Korea Freedom Day is coming up next month on April 28th to mark the largest gathering for North Korea human rights that had ever occurred outside the Korean peninsula.  That day approximately a thousand people from all over the USA rallied on Capitol Hill on April 28, 2004, with North Korean defectors and South Korean, Japanese, and Canadian human rights activists.  That day was cited as the pivotal moment that led to the passage of the North Korea Human Rights Act that Fall.  We are once again marking that day as an International Day of Prayer and Fasting for North Korea’s freedom.  We expect this to be the most important day of the year as we will also hold an interactive prayer session on April 27th 7-8:30 pm(EST)/April 28th 8-9:30 AM (Seoul) to pray with North Korean defector pastors.  Thank you to the team forming so far: Anna Yang on global website, Alana Johnson on preparing prayers for the day, Johnny Park on translations.  Helping prepare for the interactive prayer service are Pastors Chang Ho Lim and Kang Chul Ho and Kim Seong Min is helping confirm North Korea defectors who are now pastors representing every province of the DPRK. Jason West is helping with the platform, and I am working on overall service and hope to get Dr. Thomas Belke to join us as he believes this is the most important thing we can do for North Korea.  Everyone will be invited to participate, but anyone wishing to help on planning, please let me know. This would include help reviewing prayers, plans, translations, etc.

North Korea Freedom Day 2004

It is Time to go to Seoul!! North Korea Freedom Week May 22-28, 2022

It was confirmed by the North Korean defector leaders that the 19th annual North Korea Freedom Week will be held May 22-28th in Seoul.  You may recall we decided to have NKFW 2022 in May because of the critical South Korean election this month.  So. please consider joining the delegation from the USA — or from wherever you are — to travel to Seoul to support the people of North Korea and everyone working for their freedom and human rights.  More details will be forthcoming, but please mark those dates on your calendar.

DPRK exhibit and posters to foster hate for Americans.

Reporting on a Very Special Broadcast to North Korea

Finally, some great news to report: we had wonderful participation by Members of the U.S. Congress in our special messages that we broadcast to North Korea for Seollal on Free North Korea Radio.  This program has become very popular among our FNKR listeners in the DPRK as a powerful way to show the people of North Korea how much we care about them.  Despite the steady anti American propaganda they are fed starting from childhood and throughout their lives that we are their enemy, through this program they learn the truth of how much Americans are concerned about them.

We want to acknowledge and profusely thank Senators John Barasso of Wyoming, Chris Coons of Delaware, Ted Cruz of Texas,  Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Jim Risch of Idaho, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Representatives Steve Chabot of Ohio, Young Kim of California,  Doug Lamborn of Colorado, Alan Lowenthal of California, Michael McCaul of Texas, Gregory Meeks of New York, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Maria Salazar of Florida, Chris Smith of New Jersey, and Rob Wittman of Virginia for their powerful messages that were broadcast to the people of North Korea for the year of the Tiger.

UN CSW 2022: Unshackle the Women of North Korea

March 24, 2022 at 6:30 PM Eastern

Please join us for our annual parallel event during the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Our event will feature personal testimonies on the dire human rights situation for women in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as refugees in the People’s Republic of China, and as overseas workers. We will be joined by two North Korean women from Freedom Speakers International.

Tickets are free, but we encourage you to donate if you are able. Donations are tax-deductible to the maximum amount allowed by law and will go to cover event expenses for this and other North Korean human rights events.

Special thanks to Jubilee Campaign for their work on our behalf before the United Nations and both the Defense Forum Foundation and the Isabella Foundation for financial and logistical support.


Introductory Remarks:

Suzanne Scholte, Chairman, North Korea Freedom Coalition

North Korean Escapee Panel:

Songmi Han, Freedom Speakers International
Minhee Na, Freedom Speakers International
Sydney Kochan, Jubilee Campaign (Moderator)



Songmi is co-author with Casey Lartigue of the newly released book Greenlight to Freedom: A North Korean Daughter’s Search for Her Mother & Herself.

Songmi Han escaped to South Korea in 2011, following her mother to freedom. She kept her identity as a North Korean refugee hidden until this year after going through counseling to get over her childhood trauma. Songmi is a college student studying social welfare at a university in South Korea and a Special Assistant with Freedom Speakers International (FSI). She loves cooking and hopes to open a North Korean restaurant one day.

Visit Greenlight2Freedom.com for more information.


Minhee Na grew up in North Korea’s capital of Pyongyang before escaping to South Korea in 2015. She is majoring in communications at Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul. She is a commentator, TV personality, and YouTuber who discusses a wide range of North Korean issues.

Minhee joined the Freedom Speakers International (FSI) English Empowerment program in 2017 and joined the organization’s Keynote Speakers Network in 2018.

Visit https://nkfc.link/MinheeNaYouTube to find Minhee’s Korean language YouTube channel.

Save North Korean Refugees Day 2021 Acknowledgements

Dear Friends

Please find attached the acknowledgements to those who participated in last month’s Save North Korean Refugees Day 2021.

Despite everything going on in the world these days, I am ever more optimistic and hopeful our petitions and appeals will be heard thanks to the people listed in this report who have continued to speak out on behalf of the North Korean refugees wherever they are in the world.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Acta Non Verba,