“Mr. President, You Did Nothing”


March 31, 2021

The Chosun Ilbo

Dear Mr. President: In October of last year, I wrote an open letter to you published by Chosun Ilbo on October 21, 2020, appealing for urgent help to save the lives of North Korean women, men and children currently detained in China’s detention centers. I was appealing to you to do something that every previous South Korean president including Dae Jung Kim has done since the North Korean refugee crisis began: save Koreans from certain torture, certain imprisonment and possible death.  I pointed out that it was a “golden opportunity” for you to do this because Kim Jong un’s fear of COVID had led the regime to close its border and refuse to accept North Koreans that China wants to forcefully repatriate back to face certain horror. It was a great opportunity for you to ask President Xi Jinping to show humanitarian compassion and allow them safe passage to the Republic of Korea, thus relieving the burden on China. 

But you did nothing.

Then, that appeal was followed up by letter sent to you on November 2, 2020, signed by twenty former U.S. government officials representing every U.S. Presidency since Richard Nixon who wrote: We urge your administration to seize the moment to reach out to the People’s Republic of China, as South Korean administrations have quietly and very successfully done in the past, to ask for humanitarian consideration for the North Korean women, men, and children currently detained in the PRC and request they be allowed safe passage to the Republic of Korea or a third country.”

Believing you would do the right thing, that November 2, 2020, letter was not released publicly. 

But you did nothing. 

Now, I learned today that two young beautiful Korean women held in Chinese detention centers since September 2020, have been released — not to South Korean authorities, which they had requested, but to their abusers. The Chinese police gave them back into the hands of the Chinese men who had bought them, as they were victims of human trafficking. Thus, because of your inaction, they were released into the hands of those who had enslaved and abused them.

They just wanted to go to South Korea and no longer be slaves.

All you needed to do was to ask that these Korean women be released to South Korean authorities. 

This happened because you did nothing. 

You turned your back on these two women and hundreds of others, but will you continue to do this for those still being detained in China? Among the group still in detention are Christians and those trying to reunite with family in South Korea, two crimes punishable by death in North Korea. Thus, they face execution if Chinese authorities force them back to North Korea.

I understand that you are Catholic. If you will not consider these requests for help for these North Korean refugees currently detained, would you at least consider Proverbs 24:11-12– Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this, ‘does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?– which clearly calls on you to rescue those being led away to death and cautions you as well that if you knew and did nothing, you will be repaid for what they have done. As I wrote before, because your family was rescued (during the Korean War), you had the great opportunity to be able to choose your own path and thrive in the Republic of Korea to be elected to its most important political office, President. Now, you are the person with the most authority in the world to act to protect the lives of these refugees and make it possible for them to have the same opportunities. 

There is still time. Please act. You know fully well that Hanawon has lots of room to accommodate these women, men, and children. 

Suzanne Scholte

This article was originally published in Korean by The Chosun Ilbo.

Continue reading ““Mr. President, You Did Nothing””

UN CSW Event: Empower the Women Who Sustained North Korea

The North Korea Freedom Coalition has featured North Korean women speakers at the UN CSW for the past six years. This year, we will bring three speakers from around the world to discuss their experiences in and escape from North Korea. In addition, each speaker will discuss their experiences resettling in their respective countries, South Korea, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Finally, they will give their recommendations on how you can empower the women of North Korea.


Jihyun Park
Witness from the United Kingdom

Witness from the United States 

Witness from South Korea


Suzanne Scholte
Chairman, North Korea Freedom Coalition
President, Defense Forum Foundation

Ann Buwalda, Esq.
Treasurer, North Korea Freedom Coalition
Executive Director, Jubilee Campaign USA

North Korean Human Rights Activist Suzanne Scholte, “Now, we have a golden opportunity to save North Korean refugees,” to President Moon.


“Due to the unique circumstance of COVID-19, North Korea will not receive repatriation of North Korean defectors… President Moon must request humanitarian assistance from Xi Jinping”

Suzanne Scholte

By Washington Correspondent Eui-jui Cho 
October 21, 2020

The Chosun Ilbo

On the 20th, North Korean human rights activist Suzanne Scholte, President of Defense Forum Foundation, sent an open letter to the Chosun Ilbo suggesting that President Moon must save North Korean defectors detained in China in the unique circumstance created by COVID-19.

President Scholte suggests, “Due to COVID-19, North Korea has been refusing to receive repatriation of North Korean defectors from China. Therefore, we have this golden opportunity to rescue the lives of North Korean defectors detained in China. President Moon must request Premier Xi to free the North Korean defectors.” President Scholte has been striving to ameliorate human rights violations in North Korea and support North Korean defectors. In recognition of her work, she received Seoul Peace Prize in 2008. Because of her work, U.S. Congress held the very first hearing over North Korean political prison camp. Also, since 2006, she has been organizing North Korea Freedom Week to apprise the international community of human rights violations in North Korea. 

Below is her open letter to President Moon: 

Dear Mr. President: 

I am appealing to you on a most urgent matter: the North Korean men, women and children currently detained in China’s detention centers. 

The Republic of Korea has earned great admiration and respect worldwide for the tremendous efforts it has carried out to successfully resettle over 33,000 refugees who fled North Korea over the past few decades. As you know, China has continued to violate its international treaty obligations and forcefully repatriate North Koreans back to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to face certain torture, certain imprisonment and even execution.

However, today, because of COVID 19, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has refused China’s request to forcefully repatriate these refugees back to North Korea, which offers a tremendous opportunity for you to save their lives. Most of these refugees were trying to reach their families in the Republic of Korea, a crime which makes them subject to execution if forced back to North Korea. Some of these refugees have become Christians, which means they are also subjected to immediate execution. Among them are young children. 

This current situation gives you a tremendous opportunity to save the lives of hundreds of men, women and children currently in detention centers in the People’s Republic of China by requesting that Xi show humanitarian compassion and allow them safe passage to the Republic of Korea.

Because of similar action taken on behalf of your own family, you had the great opportunity to be able to choose your own path and thrive in the Republic of Korea to be elected to its most important political office, President. Now, you are the person with the most authority in the world to act to protect the lives of these refugees and make it possible for them to have the same opportunities. Please consider the sincerity of this appeal to act on their behalf.

Suzanne Scholte
Seoul Peace Prize Laureate

This article was originally published in Korean by The Chosun Ilbo.

Continue reading “North Korean Human Rights Activist Suzanne Scholte, “Now, we have a golden opportunity to save North Korean refugees,” to President Moon.”

Save North Korean Refugees Day is September 24

Dear Friends:

I am pleased to provide an update for activities and plans for our annual Save North Korean Refugees Day: September 24, 2020, a day in which EVERYONE around the world can take part.

Why September 24th and Why Care?

September 24th is the anniversary of the date in 1982 when the People’s Republic of China signed the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. By signing this agreement the PRC agreed to share international concerns and protocols for refugees.  Yet, the PRC continues to forcibly repatriate men, women, and children back to North Korea to face the wrath of Kim Jong Un. Xi Jinping knows these innocent human beings will face certain torture, certain detention and even public execution for trying to seek a better life, or in most cases today, trying to be reunited with their families in South Korea.  The most recent UN Secretary General’s report on human rights in the DPRK noted specifically the horrific and widespread ill-treatment of women who had escaped and been repatriated citing an OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) interview with over 100 women. The Secretary General called for the international community to extend protection to citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea who have crossed international borders.. AND to take steps to ensure they are protected and not repatriated (66C).  The OHCHR noted that “systematic human rights violations are committed in detention centres, including sexual violence against women and girls, appear to take place under the direct authority of the Ministry of People’s Security and the Ministry of State Security, with the likely involvement of higher authorities and…such violations may amount to crimes against humanity.”

Please consider the many ways you can take part in Save North Korea Refugees Day 2020:

Sign the online petition to Xi Jinping

Free North Korea Radio has set up a petition that everyone can sign at this website:


Be a country or city coordinator

Coordinators pledge to deliver (electronic delivery is fine) on Thursday, September 24th, a letter of appeal to Chinese President Xi Jinping via the local PRC embassy or consulate calling on the PRC to honor its treaty commitments and end its repatriation policy.  A letter and delivery information will be provided for you or you can prepare and deliver your own letter of appeal from your respective NGO.  Just let us know if you can help!

NEW ITEM: Save NK Orphans AND Display Your support for NK Refugees:

ISABELLA FOUNDATION is offering face masks with the words “SAVE NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES” printed on the front. Masks are being sold by the Isabella Foundation (a nonprofit) to support their work rescuing and resettling North Korean refugees and orphans, research projects. Net proceeds are tax deductible.  Isabella is selling the masks for $20.00 each, NKFC members get a $5.00 discount. Just enter code NKFC. You can pay by credit card, check, or if you wil attend our vigil in DC, you can pay in person at the event.  Visit here to order: 

Join us 7 pm on Thursday, September 24th at the PRC Embassy in Washington, D.C. for a Candlelight Vigil

Despite COVID-19, members of the North Korea Freedom Coalition decided to gather (with masks and social distancing) at the Embassy of the People Republic of China and hold a candlelight vigil to recall all those who tried to escape but were forcibly repatriated to North Korea by China.  We will gather at 7 pm at 3505 International Place, N.W., Washington, D.C.  We are happy to provide transportation to DC from Northern Virginia.  So, if you can join us that evening, please let me know and will have a seat for you!

Host a watch party for Crossing

Patrick Cheh, the producer of Crossing, has provided us copies of his award winning movie in recognition of Save North Korean Refugees Day.  Crossing is a powerful drama based on true stories of North Korea refugees and tragically, this movie is as relevant today as it was when it was first produced.  Attorney Tom Barker, who has helped gain U.S. Citizenship for many North Korean refugees, said that it was the movie Crossing that inspired him to get involved in the North Korea human rights movement.  Described by the Wall Street Journal as “A Schindler’s List for North Korea”, this powerful film is being offered for free but we do request a donation.  We started shipping out copies this week and have a copy just for you.  Send me your mailing address and will mail it to you right away.  You can see the English trailer for Crossing here: 

Send us Your Short Video Message for the North Korean Refugees

We are putting together short messages of solidarity to share on Save North Korean Refugees Day to give courage and support to the people of North Korea.  You can say a prayer, send a short message of encouragement, light a candle, just let them know they are NOT forgotten  – whatever inspires you!. 

Upload your short video message here (Google sign-in required) or upload on Facebook or Twitter and tag our social media accounts. And we will be sure these messages will also be heard in North Korea via Free North Korea Radio.



P.S. to give you some ideas for 2020, here is what happened around the world during last year’s Save North Korean Refugees Day:

Simon Wiesenthal Center Urges YouTube to Delete Korean Language Holocaust Denial Screed, Urges Korean Americans Leaders to Denounces Anti-Semitism

The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), a leading Jewish Human Rights NGO, is calling on YouTube  to delete a Korean language Holocaust denial video posted on its platform.

“This slick 25-minute video from “Spika Studio” by a host named “Sue” denies 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, that anyone was gassed at Auschwitz, labels Anne Frank a fraud, legitimizes Hitler’s hate for Germany Jewry, and alleges secret Jewish control of America for the last 50 years”, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean and Director of the SWC’s Global Social Action Agenda charged.

“American Jews and Korean Americans are good neighbors here in Los Angeles and in communities across  the United States”, Cooper noted.

“We are proud of our involvement over the last quarter of century, together with Korean human rights activists, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea,  the North Korean Freedom Coalition on behalf of the long-suffering people of North Korea and related human rights issues, including the gassing of political prisoners. Recently, we have seen an uptick of anti-Semitic postings online, but this video targeting Korean people is designed to demonize the Jewish people—alive and dead—and cast Jews as a secretive, dangerous cabal.”

“The SWC urges YouTube to remove the video and calls on our Korean neighbors to reject its lurid and false messages”, Rabbi Cooper concluded.

American Leaders on Oppression of the North Korea Human Rights Movement by the Moon Administration

Please find reprinted here a letter our coalition sent to President Moon Jae-In regarding the suppression of the North Korea human rights movement by his administration. I want to acknowledge and especially thank these American leaders who agreed to be original signatories on this letter: Dick Allen, Roberta Cohen, Bob Joseph, Bob King, Winston Lord, Barton Marcois, Ty McCoy, Tom Montgomery, Andrew Natsios, Daniel Pipes, Gare Smith, Katrina Lantos Swett and Christian Whiton. Because of their support, Americans who served in every U.S. Presidency since President Richard Nixon are represented in this letter demonstrating our unity that it is the responsibility of the international community, especially the Republic of Korea, to uphold the rights of the people of North Korea.

Also, thank you to all of those who joined in solidarity from around the world who are also listed below.


Suzanne Scholte
Chair, North Korea Freedom Coalition


Continue reading “American Leaders on Oppression of the North Korea Human Rights Movement by the Moon Administration”

Chosun Ilbo Special Contribution: In Defense of Park Sang Hak and Balloon Launches to North Korea

By Suzanne Scholte, Seoul Peace Prize Laureate
July 5, 2020

The Chosun Ilbo

We can have a lively debate – because we have the blessings of currently living in free societies — on whether balloon launches are an effective means of getting truth and hope, information and humanitarian assistance to North Korea, or whether they are ineffective.  But one thing we know for sure: there is a serious lack of knowledge about Kim Jong Un in the outside world.  This was clearly on display for all to see recently when the  media was all abuzz about his well-being: was he alive or dead, brain dead or totally fine, had he suffered a heart attack or an injury during military exercises?  No one knew for sure.  Only the Kim family’s elite inner power circle knew what was up.

And here are a few other things we can be sure of:

The greatest resource we have for understanding the North Korean regime are the defectors, especially those from elite families like Park Sang Hak.  They understand the mindset of the Kim family.  They know how it successfully functions and know that keeping the North Korean people in the dark and cutting them off from the outside world is critical for the regime’s survival.

Thus, getting information in and out of North Korea is critically important.

Park Sang Hak – and his fellow defectors whether elites like Huh Kwang Il and Kim Heung Kwang or rescuers like Lee So Yeon and Kim Tae Hee, whether new Assemblymen like Thae Young Ho or Ji Seong Ho – could have chosen a quiet and peaceful life in South Korea.  They are all extremely bright and enormously talented.  But instead they have chosen to stand up for the people of North Korea in the hostile environment Moon Jae In has created for them in South Korea.

Park is one example of so many defector leaders who chose to put his own life at risk, sacrificed his own financial security and his reputation by leading Fighters for Free North Korea.

Let’s examine what Park has been sending to North Korea: leaflets describing true facts and current news about the regime, shortwave radios, US one dollar bills, choco pies, protective masks, etc. 

Let’s examine why Park is doing this?  Because he cannot forget the suffering of the people he left behind in North Korea.  He knows what they need.  They need truth.  They need hope.

As the defectors repeatedly tell us: the truth will set them free.

We should be using every possible peaceful means to reach the people of North Korea whether balloon launches or rice bottle launches, whether radio broadcasting or smuggling in SD cards.  Defectors send rice and choco pies, and the North threatens to send bombs and cigarette butts.

Sister Kim Yo Jong’s latest tantrums confirm that balloon launches are effective.  Instead of encouraging nonviolent methods of outreach to the people of North Korea, the Moon administration is instead silencing the voices of defectors and worse he is now putting Park’s life at risk.

President Moon has the highest moral obligation and constitutional responsibility of anyone in this world to uphold the freedom and human rights of the Korean people. Instead of standing up for them, Moon is acting on behalf of Kim Jong Un’s regime. 

What an irony that had it not been for the wisdom of his Mother who fled to South Korea during the War, Moon may have lived under the very tyranny that Park and his family fled.

Whatever happens to Park, Moon is responsible.

And all of us who believe in speaking truth and upholding freedom and human rights must stand up for the North Korean defectors and support their work.  We must never forget that 23 million human beings are living under a dictatorship that is committing crimes against humanity and gross violations of human rights every day against men, women, and children whose only misfortune was not having a wise Mother or simply being born North of the DMZ rather than South of the DMZ.

This article was originally published in Korean by The Chosun Ilbo.

ONE Korea 625 2020

Livestream Available on YouTube now!

For the 70th anniversary since the Korean War, we are holding an online livestream event to gather people from all over the world to pray together for peace to come on the Korean peninsula.

The livestream event can be found on Facebook Live and YouTube Live and the links will be posted shortly. It will also be recorded for those who aren’t able to tune in at the live time.

We recommend that you host watching parties and invite other friends to watch it with you to help create greater awareness for the Korean peninsula’s need for peace.

We will feature guests from all over the world who will share with us their heart for the Koreas and who will lead us in times of prayer.

Some of these guests include:

  • Dan Baumman (YWAM)
  • Jamie Kim (REAH International)
  • Ben Torrey (Fourth River Ministry)
  • Suzanne Scholte (Executive Director of the Defense Forum Foundation and New Korea Freedom Coalition)
  • Ed & Linda Hackett (IHOPKC)
  • God’s Image NOVA
  • and many more pastors and professors from all over the world.

The main program will begin at 6 PM EST (3 PM PST). There will also be a pre-event that begins at 5:30 PM EST (2:30 PM PST) that will feature personal stories of those who have been affected by the Korean War and who are doing work to bring unity and peace onto the Korean peninsula.

Facebook Event and RSVP:


YouTube Livestream: