Lecture Series: “Book Talk: North Korean Human Rights and Transnational Advocacy”

Director Jisoo M. Kim opened the event with welcoming comments and introduced the panelists.

Professor Andrew Yeo, Associate Professor of Catholic University of America, presented the new book “North Korean Human Rights: Activists and Networks” that he co-edited and shared his analysis on activism and advocacy networks for North Korean human rights.

There are increased global concerns regarding human rights abuses in North Korea. Some actors from the advocacy network, such as NGOs, Governments, grassroots groups, Think Tanks, and individuals are engaged in dealing with the problem. All of them share a common goal despite their different political positions or the way of approach. The book explains that the network of North Korean human rights consists of three-dimensional structure: domestic, transnational networks, and North Korean perspectives. The linkage between domestic and transnational networks explains the specific domestic issue (i.e., North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens) or mutual relations among them (i.e., Global pressure on South Korean legislative). There are three main questions raised and answered on the advocacy issue, which are emergence, impact, and theory. The author stressed that they differ over time and across space.

Professor Celeste Arrington, Korea Foundation Assistant Professor at the the George Washington University, introduced chapter four of the book, which she contributed in writing. It examined how the North Korean human rights issues included abductions. She explained the brief timeline of how abduction issue was handled internationally and how North Korea related activist groups in Japan are involved in formatting public understanding regarding not only for the abduction issues but also broader human right issues.

Mr. Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, recommended the book by expressing admiration of how the book covered the comprehensive history of North Korean human rights that several important organizations and networks have played a key role to speed up the movement towards North Korean human rights since the 1990s.

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