An online meeting to publicize the reality of women's human rights in North Korea was held on the March 10th under the host of the North Korean Freedom Coalition (Chairperson Suzanne Scholte).
The meeting was originally sponsored by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and organized by the North Korea Freedom Coalition(NFKC), but it was replaced by online conferencing as the offline gathering was canceled due to the spread of the coronavirus.
The video conference featured Eiko Kawasaki, a victim of the repatriation project, and Shinae Oh, a North Korean defector, who reported the serious reality of women's human rights in North Korea.
Also among the participants were Ann Buwalda, a lawyer for NFKC; Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK); and John Sifton, the Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
On the online conference, Greg Scarlatoiu said, "the current oppression of women in North Korea is a direct result of totalitarian politics."
"The current North Korea women only know the totalitarian regime and are thoroughly educated in it," adding, "The poor treatment of women in the North is the outcome of totalitarianism, the self-reliance ideology that has handed over for 70 years, and this is what makes it difficult for women in the North today."
"The North Korean human rights issue has been degenerated due to political, military and security issues," Greg said.
"The negotiators in charge of that matter are those who are in a position to make a difference in the human rights of North Korea. We hope them to pay great attention to human rights when they are in the position of power and privilege," he also stressed.
Women and girls in North Korea are so oppressed and they have no way out, director John Sifton said, adding that the international community needs to recognize that women and girls in the North do not have the ability to overcome their environment. Their voices are completely silenced within the totalitarian regime," he pointed out.
John urged South Korea President, Moon Jae-in to have more interest in the North Korean Human Rights.
John said, "Not only us but many human rights activists have recently written to President Moon with deep disappointment. In particular, the repatriation of North Korean fishermen in November last year was very disappointing, he said, pointing out that South Korea is giving up its role amid the U.N.'s pressure on the North over human rights issues.
"In order to improve the human rights situation in North Korea, the international community should continue to expose human rights conditions and raise issues," said Ann Buwalda, a lawyer for the NFKC.
"We also need to actively inform the truth to North Koreans and what happens in the world until they get accurate information about the outside world."