Sending Office: Honorable K. Michael Conaway
We write to ask for your cosponsorship of H.Res. 763, which condemns the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (North Korea) labor camps and calls on the North Korean government to release all political prisoners.
Numerous reports and escapees have documented the deliberate, systematic, and continued human rights abuses committed by the North Korean regime. The Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea Political Prisons Report of 2017 found “there is ample
evidence to support a finding that crimes against humanity have been – and continue to be – committed on a massive scale in political prisons of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
While there are numerous detention centers where crimes against humanity have been committed in North Korea, some of the most heinous crimes are committed in the political labor camps, known as
kwan-li-so. These crimes include: murder; extermination; enslavement; forcible transfer; imprisonment; torture; rape and sexual violence; persecution; enforced disappearances; and other inhumane acts.
According to Thae Yong-ho, a former deputy ambassador of North Korea to the U.K. and one of the highest-ranking defectors, North Koreans can be sent to these camps for any reason, including listening to pop music, creasing a picture of a North Korean leader,
and attempting to communicate outside the country. Thae Yong-ho also confirmed what many have suspected: “‘[a]ll north Korean elites are very well aware’ that the grave human rights abuses and ‘systematic violence’
perpetrated on the North Korean people have been ‘planned, orchestrated and ordered by Kim Jong-un.’”
DongHyuk Shin, a former prisoner and escapee of a labor camp – the notorious Camp 14 – has endorsed this resolution. Mr. Shin knows better than anyone the horrors that continue to occur in the
According to the Washington Post, “High school students in America debate why President Franklin D. Roosevelt didn’t bomb the rail lines to Hitler’s camps. Their children may ask, a generation from now, why the West stared at far clearer satellite
images of [the] camps, and did nothing.” Doing nothing is not the answer.
Through this resolution we hope to keep this issue at the forefront of domestic and international awareness. We must free the thousands of North Koreans who suffer in these camps and close them down permanently.
K. Michael Conaway
Gerald E. Connolly
 U.N. Human Rights Council Report. p. 321-330.
 Washington Post. Three Kernels of Corn. December 15, 2008.
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