North Korea Freedom Week is an annual event held to promote the freedom, human rights and dignity of the North Korean people. It first began in 2004 in Washington, D.C., as North Korea Freedom Day, the largest gathering of individuals to promote human rights in North Korea that had ever been held outside the Korean peninsula. U.S. Members of Congress credited North Korea Freedom Day as being the key catalyst behind the passage of the North Korea Human Rights Act that same year. Since 2005, the event was expanded to a week and has included rallies, Congressional hearings, protests, film screenings, concerts, prayer vigils, exhibits, and other events specifically to promote awareness and action on behalf of the world’s most suffering people. The most important quality of North Korea Freedom Week has always been the significant participation of North Korean defectors who testify, speak out and provide eyewitness testimony.
Among the many highlights of past NKFWs have been the opportunity for defectors to meet with the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, Congressional hearings and briefings exposing the political prison camps, trafficking of North Korean women in China, the issue of South Korea and Japan abductees and South Korean POWs, North Korea’s illicit activities from proliferating nuclear technology to drug trafficking and counterfeiting, the horrors facing North Korean orphans, and the human rights abuses faced by North Korean men and women while serving in the DPRK Military.
From 2004-2009, NKFW was held in Washington, D.C. and included events in New York City, while from 2010-2014, it was held in Seoul and included events in Busan. Since 2015, the week has alternated between the USA and South Korea. NKFW was established and co-chaired by Suzanne Scholte (North Korea Freedom Coalition) and Kim Seong Min (Free North Korea Radio).