As President Obama travels to South Korea, matters of the state will be on the agenda. So we shine the spotlight on the plight of the people living in the North. Shin Dong-hyuk is the only person who is known to have been escaped a North Korea prison camp after being born there. “Shin grew up literally not understanding concepts such as love, trust or kindness. His life consisted of beatings, hunger and labor.” At the age of 14, when he watched his mother and brother executed, he reported feeling no pain or regret.
What’s the Big Idea?
In 2005, the United Nations declared that all nations have the ‘responsibility to protect’ civilians who are abused by their own government. Yet North Korean labor camps have existed twice as long as Soviet gulags and 12 times as long as Nazi concentration camps? Victor Cha, a Georgetown University professor, says the next US president is likely to face a major crisis in North Korea, perhaps resulting in reunification with the South. When that happens, ‘what is likely to be revealed is one of the worst human rights disasters in modern times,’ says Cha.