NKFW 2013

Seoul, Korea

April 12, 2013

Dear Friends:

While the world watches for a possible nuclear missile test by North Korea in the coming days and the Kim Jong Eun regime increases its hostile rhetoric, what an important time to be focusing on promoting the freedom, human rights, and dignity of the North Korean people. I am pleased to share with you plans for the 10th annual North Korea Freedom Week April 28-May 5, 2013 and the Worldwide Awareness Day for North Korean Refugees May 2, 2013 -- we hope that everyone wherever you are in the world will participate in these upcoming events especially in our call to China's new President, Xi Jinping, to reverse China's illegal, barbaric and inhumane repatriation of North Korean refugees. Please see below details on both events but first two quick announcements coming up tomorrow and next week:

U.S. Congressman to host 48M Screening in Newport News April 13, 2013: Congressman Rob Wittman with the special permission of the producer of 48M has organized a special screening of this film depicting the life and death struggle North Koreans face in crossing the 48 meters of the Yalu River to escape from North Korea. The screening will take place at Peninsula Korean Baptist Church, 972 Harpersville Road, Newport News, VA 23601 at 7 pm on Saturday, April 13, 2013. To download the flyer, click here. To RSVP email courtney.carrow@mail.house.gov See PKB Church weblink here:http://pkbc.org/_chboard/bbs/board.php?bo_table=m7_3&wr_id=404702

Congressional Hearing on April 18 to Include Focus on the Trafficking of North Korean Women in China: Congressman Chris Smith, Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, will hold a hearing on the Trafficking in Person's Act and the Tier Rankings in the Fight Against Human Trafficking. The hearing will be held on Thursday, April 18 at 1 pm in 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The fact that China's repatriation policy has led to the trafficking of North Korean women will be addressed. Full hearing details here: http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-hearing-tier-rankings-fight-against-human-trafficking

And now about upcoming North Korea Freedom Week's events:

Special Concert to Kick Off North Korea Freedom Week in Washington, D.C., area -

A Night of Hope -- April 28, 2013: Featuring Korean Songs and Famous Opera Arias, the SALT Opera Ensemble in conjunction with the Korean American Association of the Washington Metropolitan Area will host "A Night of Hope" Concert at 7 pm on Sunday, April 28, 2013 at Truro Anglican Church, 10520 Main Street, Fairfax, Virginia 22030. Begun in 2012, the SALT Opera Ensemble (Sharing music, Aiding others, and Loving God: Together) offers a unique concert experience: transportive singing that raises friends and funds in support of non-profit organizations that work for international human rights, community development and eradication of poverty. SALT is made up of Korean, Peruvian and American opera singers, who together share a common culture of excellence, and includes Truro's own Susan Wheeler and Michael and Joy Menztel. In each concert, SALT sings familiar and stirring opera songs, while adding one set of music and regional wear of a "spotlight culture." On April 28th, we will feature several Korean gems, as sung by Placido Domingo and Hei-Kyung Hong, and close with an American sing-along. Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased by emailing saltoperaensemble@gmail.com or at the door. A portion of the proceeds for the event will support the work of the North Korean Freedom Coalition especially the daily Free North Korea Radio broadcast to North Korea. To download the flyer, click here.

In solidarity with 10th Annual North Korea Freedom Week April 28-May 5, 2013:

WORLDWIDE AWARENESS DAY FOR NORTH KOREA REFUGEES on MAY 2, 2013 Endorsed by Crossing Producer Patrick Cheh: While there has been much progress on the recognition of the severity of the human rights crisis in North Korea as recently seen with the UN’s Human Rights Council voting last month to establish a Commission of Inquiry into North Korea’s “systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights,” there has been no similar recognition of the horrors facing North Korean refugees in China. In fact, the situation facing North Korean refugees in China is worse than ever before ever since Kim Jong Un became dictator of North Korea. China's assistance to the North Korean regime in hunting down and arresting North Koreans and those who try to assist them, and their collusion with the regime in illegally repatriating them back to North Korea has led to a substantial drop in the number of North Koreans being able to escape to freedom in South Korea and other countries. We must continue to call upon China to reverse their repatriation policy which has led to the torture, imprisonment and execution of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

Now, that Xi Jinping has assumed the presidency of China and China has shown its increasing displeasure with the North Korea regime, this peaceful Worldwide Awareness Day for North Korean Refugees will focus on direct appeals to Xi to reverse China's repatriation policy – something that is also most definitely in China’s best interest. In fact, the people of China are increasingly voicing their displeasure about their government’s constant support of Kim Jong Eun with his reckless threats and provocations. Yet, just last month, South Korean reporter Joo Sung Ha, released a copy of a Chinese police order that offered rewards to those who turn in North Korean refugees and severe punishment for those who know about refugees and do not turn them into the police.

This is just a terrible reminder of the importance of continuing to raise this issue, and Patrick Cheh, the producer of Crossing agrees and has endorsed this Worldwide Awareness Day! For those of you who have not seen Crossing it is an amazing movie and was South Korea's submission to the Academy Awards several years ago. Patrick Cheh not only is allowing us to have Crossing be the official movie for the Worldwide Awareness Day for North Korea Refugees, he wrote:

"When we produced Crossing several years ago we hoped that the film would help awaken people in South Korea and around the world to the dire situation in North Korea that leads to North Koreans risking their lives to flee to China in an attempt to save themselves and their families. Tragically, today the situation has not improved, but in fact has gotten worse and North Koreans are in even greater danger. We hope that through the Worldwide Awareness Day for North Korean Refugees, that more people will view this film to understand the reality of North Koreans and join the peaceful call to China to end their repatriation policy."

--Patrick Cheh, Producer, Crossing

It is easy for anyone and everyone to take part in this Worldwide event – as an individual, as an NGO leader, as an elected official. We simply request that people send letters of petition on Thursday, May 2, 2013 by hand (preferred), by delivery, by email, OR by fax directly to the nearest Embassy or Consulate of China in their country calling for President Xi to reverse their repatriation policy and stop forcing North Korean refugees back to North Korea.

You can find your nearest Chinese embassy or consulate here: http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/wjb/zwjg/2490/

And a sample petition is below – or check out a downloadable petition at www.nkfreedom.org

We also hope that you would consider being a city or country coordinator for action in your area. All we ask of city and country coordinators is to do this one thing: send the petition on May 2, but you may also consider sponsoring a showing of Crossing or another event earlier that week to raise awareness of this crisis and gather more letter writers and signatories to join in appeals to Xi. Thanks to Patrick Cheh we have copies of Crossing available to send to YOU if you want to do a special screening in your home, at your university, or at your church or other location. Just email me that you want to be a city or country coordinators, and I will send you a copy and you can join activists in Canada like Kyung B Lee; Mexico like Teresa Ost; Japan like Kan Ando; South Korea like Peter Jung; and US city coordinators in Chicago like Bok Lee and Andrew Hong; in New York like Erin Zaikis and in Washington, D.C. like Louise Van Horne who are leading efforts already for this Worldwide North Korean Refugee Awareness Day!!

Remember we are simply asking China to honor its international treaty obligation as it is a signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol -- an international agreement that it is violating every time it forces a North Korean man, woman, or child back to North Korea to face certain torture, certain imprisonment and even execution for the "crime" of fleeing North Korea.

HERE IS A Sample Petition: To The HONORABLE XI JINPING, President, People’s Republic of China (c/o the embassy or consulate in your area) Dear President XI: Congratulations on your election this year to lead the world’s most populous nation. We are writing with the fervent hope that your dreams and vision to lead China towards national rejuvenation will also lead to your reconsideration of China’s policy towards your North Korean neighbors. Specifically, we are sending this petition to ask that you work with the international community to safely resettle North Koreans who have fled to your country to third countries rather than forcing them back to North Korea to face certain torture, imprisonment and even execution. We believe that this action would be consistent with China’s desire to provide leadership internationally but also would signal to the increasingly hostile and threatening Kim Jong Eun regime that it is time to start adopting reforms that will improve conditions in North Korea so that its citizens will not want to flee. Many nations around the world have shown their willingness to accept North Koreans for resettlement so there is no reason to force them back to North Korea. We thank you for your consideration. To download the sample petition in MS Word, click here. Please feel free to personalize the letter.

North Korea Freedom Week Events: Preparing for North Korea's Freedom: Despite the daily threats coming out of Kim Jong Eun and his regime, we are looking forward with great anticipation to the 10th Annual North Korea Freedom Week with many events planned in Seoul, but also in Daejon, Busan and at the DMZ. There will be an opening ceremony at the Korean National Assembly, a special conference hosted by South Korea's Human Rights Commission, seminars hosted by the North Korean defector NGOs, concerts and prayer vigils, several balloon launches and all kinds of wonderful activities. While the past nine North Korea Freedom Week's were focused on promoting the Freedom, Human Rights and Dignity of the North Korean people, this year's NKFW will be focusing on preparing for the Freedom, Human Rights and Dignity of the North Korean people - that day is coming.

As with all past North Korea Freedom events, anyone who believes that North Koreans are entitled to the same human rights as South Koreans and other free people around the world, are invited to be a part of these events. Those who cannot come to Korea for NFKW 2013, can certainly be with us in solidarity Thursday, May 2, 2013 and take part in the Worldwide Awareness Day for North Korean Refugee.

Acta Non Verba,

Suzanne Scholte