Press Release — North Korea: HRF Welcomes UN Report Condemning Forced Labor


The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) welcomes the report presented by Marzuki Darusman, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, condemning the forced labor conditions suffered by approximately 50,000 Koreans who were sent by the Kim regime to work abroad. The report, submitted to the U.N. General Assembly, exposes the harsh conditions faced by these workers, which include 20-hour shifts, scarce food rations, and constant surveillance by North Korean officials who have seized workers’ passports to prevent escape from the workplace.

“The Kim dictatorship is known for its crimes against humanity. Yet, the scope of its cruelty never ceases to astonish—the North Korean government’s exploitation and abuse of its people extends well beyond the borders of the dictatorship,” said HRF president Thor Halvorssen. “Incidentally, this nefarious State-sponsored system implemented to earn foreign currency is almost identical to the one put in place by theCuban dictatorship, which ships health-care workers worldwide and makes billions of dollars through the exploitation of workers with no rights whatsoever,” he added.

In September, HRF launched the Global Coalition for the North Korean Human RightsAct (NKHRA). If signed into law by the South Korean National Assembly, the NKHRA would establish a human rights monitoring and documentation program; launch a campaign to educate the South Korean people about the human rights situation in North Korea; send humanitarian aid to the North Korean people; mandate financial support for South Korean civil society groups that smuggle information into the isolated North; and create high-level positions in the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Unification that are dedicated to promoting human rights in North Korea.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

Contact: Noemi Gonzalo-Bilbao, (212) 246-8486,