Target: Kim Jong-Un, Supreme Commander of the People’s Army, care of Ambassador Sin Son-ho, Permanent Mission of the Democratic People’s Republic in New York
Goal: Ensure the protection of two North Korean nationals forcibly returned to the country after their escape
Two North Korean citizens, Kim Song-il and Kim Son-hye, were recently found in China after escaping from North Korea. The Chinese government has returned both of them to North Korea, where they are at risk of ill-treatment, torture, enforced disappearances, and even death. Sign the petition calling on Kim Jong-Un to respect the rights of Kim Song-il and Kim Son-hye and to ensure that all North Korean citizens are guaranteed basic human rights.
Since he came to power in 2011, Kim Jong-un has tightened many restrictions on the movement of North Korean residents, strengthening border control and prohibiting residents from moving freely across the border into other countries. Additionally, Amnesty International reports that he has “condemned border-crossers and threatened them with severe punishments.”
Kim Song-il and Kim Son-hye left North Korea with three relatives. All five people were caught in China, but only Kim Song-il and Kim Son-hye were sent back to North Korea. The relatives, Kim Kwang-ho, Kim Ok-shil, and their daughter, were allowed to continue on to South Korea, since all three have citizenship there. Kim Kwang-ho, Kim Ok-shil, and their daughter had already fled North Korea once, ending up in South Korea. They recently returned to North Korea for unknown reasons, publicly claiming “that they had been lured to South Korea.” Human rights groups fear they had been returned against their will and were forced to participate in anti-South Korea propaganda, but this is only speculation.
What is clear, however, is that Kim Song-il and Kim Son-hye are at great risk in North Korea. North Korean authorities refuse to allow human rights organizations to monitor conditions within the country, making it all too likely that the Kims will be subject to torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearance, death, or–at the very least–detainment. No one should be in such danger simply for seeking to move away from their homeland. Sign the petition and do your part to help keep Kim Song-il and Kim Son-hye safe.
Human beings the world over are entitled to basic human rights, including the freedom to choose where to live. For Kim Song-il, Kim Son-hye, and many other North Korean nationals, however, this right is cruelly and unnecessary denied by Kim Jong-un and the North Korean government. I demand that the North Korean government leave Kim Song-il and Kim Son-hye alone, and I call upon Kim Jong-un to cooperate with human rights organizations and guarantee the fair treatment of all North Koreans.
As a member of the world community, North Korea must observe certain standards of human rights. According to Amnesty International, all people in all countries should be allowed “freedom of association, expression and movement.” North Korea’s overly strict border patrol policies severely infringe upon these rights, trapping many North Koreans in a country that has little regard for their safety or well-being.
The recent forced return of Kim Song-il and Kim Son-hye to North Korea from China has raised concerns throughout the global community. Many fear that the Kims will be subject to detention, forced disappearance, torture, or the death penalty for attempting to escape from North Korea. I therefore demand that the North Korean government leave the Kims alone, that it immediately and unreservedly disclose their whereabouts, and that it relax its unnecessarily stringent policies on border crossings.
North Korea has a responsibility to both its own people and the global community. Do not let power blind you to this fact.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: SKopp via Wikimedia Commons