Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is one of the signatories to a letter calling on the new North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to end human rights abuses in his country.
CSW which campaigns for the rights of persecuted Christians across the world is part of the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK).
The coalition is headed by the world’s three largest international human rights organizations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), along with 40 other organisations.
In an open letter to General Kim, who is the successor to his father Kim Jong-il who died in December last year, the ICNK urges him to reverse the 'decades-long pattern of human rights violations and abuses committed by the government in Pyongyang against the North Korean people'.
Ha Tae Keung, President of Open North Korea and a member of the ICNK Co-ordinating Committee, said, “Kim Jong-un should look to his legacy. He has the opportunity to be remembered as the leader who restored freedom to the people of North Korea.
"He can bring his country out of isolation and assure peace and security on the Korean peninsula. But he can do this only by respecting the basic human rights of the North Korean people. He should open the country to international human rights monitors, close the prison camps and set the captives free.”
Among the human rights violations cited in the letter are claims that over 200,000 men, women and children are held for political reasons in a system of prison and labour camps.
North Korea, which has a population of 24.5 Million, is effectively cut off from the outside world, with severely restricted access for visitors and for North Korean nationals who wish to travel.
The ICNK point out in their letter that the North Korean people live in fear that their loyalty to the regime will be questioned, leading to their arbitrary detention, disappearance, torture or death, and that there is widespread hunger, malnutrition and lack of health care amid the general population, while members of the political elite live like royalty.
The open letter calls on Kim Jong-un to live up to the rights enshrined in international treaties which North Korea has signed, and grant access to human rights monitors, especially the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in North Korea and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The ICNK includes human rights campaigners from around the world, including Asia, Latin America, North America, and Europe.
January 10th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross