© 2010 William Cornforth/Human Rights Watch

(New York) – A delegation representing the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK) will travel to Europe beginning on June 7, 2012, to urge European governments and the European Union to support the establishment of a United Nations Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity in North Korea.

The ICNK is an international coalition formed to work to end the dire human rights situation in North Korea.

The delegation includes:

  • Kang Cheol-hwan, a survivor of a North Korean prison camp and co-author with Pierre Rigoulot of The Aquariums of Pyongyang;
  • David Hawk, visiting scholar at Columbia University and author of The Hidden Gulag (new edition published in April 2012);
  • Kwon Eunkyoung from Open North Korea; and
  • Jared Genser, an international human rights lawyer who submitted a petition to the United Nations on April 2, 2012, on behalf of ICNK, calling for an investigation into North Korea’s human rights violations.

“How many more people have to die in North Korea’s political prison camps before the international community acts,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said on behalf of the ICNK. “Refugees consistently report human rights violations in North Korea that constitute crimes against humanity, so what is Europe waiting for. Policy-makers should stand up and demand a full UN commission of inquiry investigation to establish the truth and identify culprits.”

The delegation will travel to Brussels on June 7 to meet with members of the European Parliament and officials in the European Commission.

In London on June 11, the delegation will meet with the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office and several members of both Houses of Parliament, and address a briefing organized by the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission.

In Paris on June 12, the delegation will meet with officials of the government, the office of the president, and members of the Senate.

In Geneva on June 13 and 14, the delegation will present its concerns to the UN special rapporteur for human rights in North Korea and other UN officials.

“The ICNK, established in September 2011, is the first international coalition to bring together human rights organizations from around the world – not only from the Western hemisphere but also from Asia and Latin America – to campaign for a global effort to end the dire human rights situation in North Korea,” said David Knaute, head of the Asia desk at International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). “It is urgent for the international community to place it at the core of its approach vis-a-vis North Korea and mobilize all possible human right mechanisms to put an end to the political prison camps in which up to 200,000 North Korean are detained in inhumane conditions.”

“This is a unique opportunity to expose to policymakers in Europe the dire and desperate human rights situation in North Korea, and to impress upon them the importance of an international investigation into these crimes against humanity,” said Benedict Rogers, East Asia team leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, who will be the host of the delegation in London. “European policymakers and the UN have a responsibility to act, to stop the suffering of the North Korean people, and hold Kim Jong-Un’s regime to account.”

Members and supporters of the Coalition are as follows:

  • Advocates International Global Council
  • Amnesty International
  • Asia Justice and Rights
  • Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances
  • Asian Human Rights & Humanity Association of Japan
  • Burma Partnership (Thailand)
  • Christian Lawyers Association for Paraguay
  • Christian Solidarity Worldwide
  • Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (USA)
  • Conectas (Brazil)
  • Council for Human Rights in North Korea (Canada)
  • Freedom House (USA)
  • Free NK Gulag (ROK)
  • Free North Korea Radio (ROK)
  • Han Voice (Canada)
  • HH Katacombs (ROK)
  • Human Rights Foundation
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Human Rights Without Frontiers (Belgium)
  • Inter-American Federation of Christian Lawyers
  • International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  • COMJAN (Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North Korea)(Japan)
  • Japanese Lawyers Association for Abduction and Other Human Rights Issues in North Korea
  • Jubilee Campaign (USA)
  • Justice for North Korea (ROK)
  • Kontras (Indonesia)
  • Liberty in North Korea - LiNK (USA)
  • Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (Japan)
  • Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights (ROK)
  • NK Intellectual Solidarity (ROK)
  • No Fence (Japan)
  • North Korea Freedom Coalition
  • Odhikar (Bangladesh)
  • Open North Korea (ROK)
  • People In Need (Czech Republic)
  • PSALT NK (Prayer Service Action Love Truth for North Korea)
  • The Simon Wiesenthal Center (USA)
  • The Society to Help Returnees to North Korea (Japan)
  • Students Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea (ROK)
  • World Without Genocide (USA)
  • Young Defectors' Alliance for North Korean Human Rights (ROK)
  • Yuki Akimoto, Burmainfo (Japan)
  • Tomoharu Ebihara
  • David Hawk, Visiting Scholar, Columbia University, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, and author of Hidden Gulag
  • Ken Kato, Director, Human Rights in Asia (Japan)
  • Tomoyuki Kawazoe, Representative, Kanagawa Association for The Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea / Member, Reporters Without Borders
  • Suzanne Scholte, Seoul Peace Prize Recipient & Defense Forum Foundation (USA)
  • Dr. Norbert Vollertsen