GENEVA, March 11, 2014 – Today and tomorrow, March 11-12, Mr. Ahn Myeong Cheol and Mr. Kang Cheol Hwan, two escaped North Korean defectors, are available for interviews as they visit Geneva to demand further action on North Korea’s human rights abuses.
Ahn and Kang both have testified to the UN Commission of Inquiry about their personal experiences as human rights victims in North Korea.
Ahn was a prison guard in labor camps and can give an interesting perspective on the heavy brain-washing and training he received. Kang was prisoner at the notorious Yodok camp for 10 years, imprisoned at the age of 9 with his family.
Their arrival in Geneva comes days before the UN Human Rights Council reviews the latest report on North Korea’s human rights abuses.
Both Ahn and Kang have previously shared their personal stories at UN Watch’s Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, an annual conference that convenes human rights activists and political dissidents from across the world.
Ahn Myeong Cheol was a prison guard in the North Korean regime’s brutal gulag who escaped to South Korea and became a human rights activist. Born in North Hamgyong Province in North Korea, he was the only one chosen in his district, at aged 18, to become a political prison camp guard. Throughout his service, Ahn was subjected to heavy brain-washing and training. He worked for a total of eight years in four different camps. These camps were all designated as total control zones, which prohibit the release of prisoners under any circumstances. Ahn escaped, and now works as a human rights activist at Free North Korea Gulag.
Kang Chol-Hwan is a journalist, author, and North Korean defector. As a nine-year-old child, he and his entire family were imprisoned in the Yodok concentration camp by the government of dictator Kim Il-sung. For ten years, he was subjected to the brutal conditions of the camp, where he and his family were in constant danger of starvation and death from exposure. In 2000, Kang published “The Aquariums of Pyongyang“, a description of his experiences and the very first survivor account of North Korea’s concentration camps.