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“A lot of North Korean Defectors are young adults,” Activist, Ji Seong-Ho, Tells The Oslo Times 

“A lot of North Korean Defectors are young adults,” Activist, Ji Seong-Ho, Tells The Oslo Times

June 28,Oslo: The living condition of North Korean inside North Korea was further brought under scrutiny after The US State Department released its annual report of human right, which has cited  Human Rights condition he World inside the country among the worst in the World.  According to the report,the Korean government subjected its citizens to rigid controls over many aspects of their lives. The list includes–denial of the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, religion, movement, and worker rights. “Reports continued of a vast network of political prison camps in which conditions were often harsh, life threatening, and included forced and compulsory labor,: the annual report stated. The report further states that, there were numerous reports that the government committed arbitrary and unlawful killings in 2014.

koreaDefector and refugee reports also noted instances in which the government executed political prisoners, opponents of the government, repatriated defectors, and others accused of crimes. “The law prescribes the death penalty for the most “serious” or “grave” cases of “anti-state” or “anti-nation” crimes, which include: participation in a coup or plotting to overthrow the state; acts of terrorism for an anti state purpose; treason, which includes defection or handing over state secrets; suppressing the people’s movement for national liberation; and “treacherous destruction,” the report stated.

The Oslo Times International News Network’s Editor-in-Chief Hatef Mokhtar and Senior Media Adviser Matthew Classen earlier this month had met up with a prominent North Korean defector and human right activist, Ji Seong-Ho for an exclusive interview on the Human Rights Condition in North Korea.

Here is what he had to say:

You gave an amazing speech, amazing presentation, it was an honor listening to you at The Oslo Freedom Forum, we often times in the west hear about North Korea but we don’t have face or story with what is behind North Korea. You provide a face and amazing story. So the first question that we could ask is, what are the next steps that you will take?

Once I leave Oslo and return to South Korea, I will continue to do the work that I have been doing through my organisation-NAUH, which stands for ‘Now, Action, Unity and Human Rights’.

So, what we have been doing so far ranges from  rescuing refugees and facilitating North Korean human rights movements and north korea killing radio broadcasting. Once I go back, the one thing that I would do as a new project, is to create a radio drama show. What we do is send back the radio broadcasts to North Korea. We have a lot of North Korean Defectors, who are young adults,people around my age as members in the organization, so we know what the people in North Korea want to listen to, what kind of stories that they
would be interested in. So, we want to start a new project and get the word across by creating a new radio drama that is tailored to suit the young generation in North Korea.

Radio is a way to transmit messages and communications into North Korea that is fairly common, you would say?
There are different ways of sending in messages to North Korea, but I believe that radio is probably in trends as it is less expensive than other methods. Number two, listening to radio broadcast is much less riskier than other methods  because it is basically the message that goes over the airwaves and people already have radios and they can listen to it. There is no trace of risk of having being caught for e.g. with any other materials from the point of view of the regimes. In that sense I believe that the radio is a good way of sending outside information into North Korea.

Now that we know that the radio is a very turbulent form of transmission of messages, I am curious to know exactly how north  quotemany people actually do listen to these types of radio programs.

Well honestly, being North Korean we cannot go into a survey and do any sort of tabulation as to how many people listen to our radio broadcasts. Even when I was in North Korea before I escaped, a lot of my friends listened to foreign broadcasts with the radios that they had. Of course something like this cannot be publicized  or talked about in public because listening to this kind of broadcasts can have serious consequences.In that sense I cannot give you an exact number but there are there are a lot of people in North Korea that have access to radios and do listen to foreign broadcasts as well.       

How do you think this regime can be over thrown? As, North Korea has always maintained that they have the right to defend their sovereignty, and they would therefore never allow anyone to interfere in their national matters, do you think North Korea will ever enjoy good relations with South Korea? And secondly there are claims that the communist ideology brings equality and justice. So, the third thing that the North Korean government claims is that all human rights activists have been created by the intelligence agencies like CIA, FBI and another organisations. What’s your response to such claims made by the regime? 

Your first question, is very complex and difficult question to answer but ultimately I think the best way to remove the regime would

be on to the people as long as we help with the information flow from outside to the inside of the country. It is really up to the North Korean country for South Korea  to become  its Southern counter partner in terms of standard of living and the system of government and that is only the way that the people in North Korea can truly escape from the 70 year of brainwashing and propagandazation  by the regime.

Coming to your second question,I don’t think the government, their attacks and their criticism against activists like myself and other NGOs and human rights activists, does not deserve any sort of response nor is it worthy of any replies or response from people on our side, because they are supposedly a government and we are just NGOs and
human rights activists, so you are dealing with the government. For e.g. when a parent sends his/her own children abroad and they sing and dance to, show the picture of humanity, and picture of everything being OK in the country. So, when we deal with a regime that is built up on lies and of course then attacking us by calling us stooges of CIA or other government organisations,         I believe that they don’t deserve any worthy response from us.

Kim Jong-unHuman Right is a global phenomenon in our sense, do you see yourself as human rights activists, as a victim or as a freedom fighter, and how would you describe yourself in our time, in our history?

I would describe myself as a human rights activists.

When you claim to be a human rights activist,you are actually dedicating your whole life to humanity, so it would be fair to ask you, what then, are future plans?

So, as a human rights activist, answering your question, I don’t have a grand ambition or great big plans, for my personal well being,  but my own personal goal or future goal would be to bring a spring of freedom to the people of North Korea.To give and to show to them what it’s like to live in a democratic and free society. It may sound like a grand vision,right now, but it is really not because, I believe that just like I,myself, have received so much help and so much support when I arrived in South Korea that, it is the same feeling and life that I want for the people in North Korea. I want for them,  to one day receive the same sort of freedom, support and help as well.       

There area few things that Oslo Times would like to say to you as we truly believe that it is people like you, who through your hard work, dedication and selfless goals give others the reason to fight for a better life.

First of all thank you very much. Secondly you are doing  us all proud through your work. One can fight for money, for business, for cloth, for power and for position, but  in history the biggest and strongest people are those that give life to humanity, who give their blood to the nation, for equality , for poverty, to educate and eliminate the dictatorial and totalitarian regime, such a people will always remain in the pages of history and will always be remembered for their sacrifices.

The beauty of this life is our love for all of  humanity that gives us the power to stand against totalitarian regimes. The Oslo Times supports you and all human rights activists who are with you. Me my team and our newspaper is with you so never let hopelessness get the better of you and never feel suppressed by the dictatorial regime because they are just balloons which are hollow. The people who work for humanity they do not have bodyguards.  My suggestion is this as much as you want to hear your voice please do hear it, write and speak English, one thing I want to reveal about my nation, when the Russians entered Afghanistan, no one believed that they will eventually leave Afghanistan. So always remember that guns, and other weapons will never save the dictatorial regime, the real power is with you and you are the voice– of the people because of humanity and your of dignity, and it is this voice that can throttle any regime


All Rights Reserved with The Oslo Times


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  • The views and opinions published in this interview belong solely to the interviewee do not represent any view or opinion held by The Oslo Times International News Network. The Oslo Times practices, defends and promotes freedom of expression. The published interview is in accordance with Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.