Monday, May 17, 2004

Wednesday to Friday of Human Rights in North Korea

Okay, apparently a daily blog during such a busy week was too ambitious. The week is now over so I'll just recap the last days.

Wednesday was speaker panel. Debbie discussed the situation of human rights abuses in North Korea. The dprivation of basic rights such as equal access to food, suppression of freedom of speech, mobility, cases of torture and imprisonment without trial. She also spoke about the plight of North Korean refugees fleeing to China only to be repatriated, trafficked, living in fear and in hiding.

David Hawk discussed the background of his research for the publication, The Hidden Gulag and how that basic research could/should be utilised by varying groups to start increasing our knowledge of the atrocities in human rights and to bring this issue to the attention of the world.

Larry Diamond talked about some hopeful signs of the regimes collapse and economic reforms and the need to address human rights in consideration of what China, Japan, and South Korea are capable of doing and what they are likely to do and how US should be working with these nations which in many areas have much greater leverage over North Korea to affect meaningful change.

In all, it was a pretty powerful panel with loads of good and compelling information about the human rights situation in North Korea. Special thanks for my good friend Jane Pak for being a great moderator at the event.


Thursday was the Benefit Concert. Korean American comedian PK performed as did Ken Oak. Both were exceptional performers which made for great entertainment. We also had Stanford's own, Hwimori which is a Korean drumming outfit and some poetry and a performance written by fellow organiser Casey.


Friday was pretty much the wind down with the usual White Plaza petition and information drive being the main highlight. As the last day a lot of us came out for a final effort. We were also treated to a show by some African American performers on campus putting on a lunch show just opposite our table which made it all very festive and drew a good crowd to our table as well.

So that was the HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA AWARENESS WEEK and my first experience as a human rights activist. In sum, I loved it. It was loads and loads and loads of hard work but it was great to see the week go so smoothly and to see people asking about human rights and learning more about it.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui