Stalled for Lack of Funds
A Handicapped father and his two sons who
escaped North Korea now wait in Yanji for the call to complete their journey to
South Korea. Two purchased "wives" who escaped their Chinese husbands now also await
the chance to flee to to freedom. We invite your help in rescuing these people seeking better lives.
of 9 Orphans Draws World Attention
The story of the 9 orphans shipped back to North Korea by the Lao government has stirred strong emotions globally. A number of heavyweight organizations including Amnesty International and the North Korean Freedom Coalition have stepped up and are taking a hand in the issue. Two recent statements are included here.
Repatriated NK Orphans Face Life or Death
In December 2011, 15 defector youths, all of whom had once been homeless street kids, gathered for a Christmas party in a hidden shelter in China. Of those 15, six have made it to freedom, but 9 others were just arrested and sent back to North Korea.
Joo Tells What Happened
Pastor Joo, led the 9 NK defector orphans to Laos, but there they were detained. "Some of them had lived with me for three years in China. This is the fourth deportation for one of the girls. Onc, when I was ill, they stayed with me all night, caring for me.”
Statement on the 9 Repatriated Orphans
The Lao and Chinese governments have allowed North Korean agents to take 9 orphans back to North Korea, while fully aware that the children will face harsh punishment in their homeland. This crime against humanity tramples on the spirit of protecting refugees.
Foster Children in China
Most of the children born in China to North Korean defector mothers living with ethnic Korean Chinese fathers find life to be tough. In this article, we profile one father struggling to care for his son after the mother was arrested and repatriated to North Korea.
News Media Interview NK Refugee
Italian news outlet, Mediaset TGCOM24, contacted LFNKR, seeking an interview with a NK defector now living in Japan. They wanted his views on daily life, prison camps and starvation in today's North Korea.
CNN Features NK Prison Camp Escapee
CNN talked with escaped North Korean work camp prisoner, Shin Dong-hyuk about his life, which began with his birth in near-hopeless circumstances. He grew up without human warmth, and only harsh prison rhetoric as his moral compass. Later, he witnessed the executions of his mother and brother.
Send Open Letter to North Korea's New Leader
At a recent Tokyo press conference, several NGOs vowed cooperation with the new UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) by providing information and relevant interviews. Also announced at the press conference was an open letter addressed to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
to Investigate NK Human Rights Crimes
This organization, together with other members of the ICNK (International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea), has helped establish a UN Commission of Inquiry (COI), to investigate North Korean human rights violations.
YouTube Video - Death Camp Book Scenes
A shocking YouTube video is already drawing thousands of views. The footage includes scenes from a book about Chongo-ri Kyo Hwa So (NK Death Camp), which features drawings by scores of NK prison camp escapees depicting the horrors and inhumane violence they routinely experienced while incarcerated there.
Book on NK Death Camp Published in Japanese
LFNKR published last month the Japanese-language
version of a book on 'Chongo-ri Kyo Hwa So,' the infamous "death camp." Based on interviews with 8,934
North Korean defectors, the book includes many colored sketches drawn by former detainees at the Death
Camp. (Warning: this book is not for the faint of heart.)
Sets Bounty on NK Refugees
Chinese authorities have announced a schedule of rewards payable to anyone turning in North Koreans who have escaped into China. The situation has become so critical in NK that increasing numbers of people are fleeing across the border to escape the starvation and the political difficulties in the "people's" democratic republic.
NK Refugee Qualifies for Nursing School
A young NK lady who only reached Japan 4 years ago has learned Japanese well enough to now take the entrance exam at a prestigious Tokyo nursing school and pass. The competition is fierce, and qualifying is difficult. To illustrate, only 29 of the nearly 200 applicants passed the exam.
LFNKR in Joint Protest of NK Nuclear Blast
On Feb. 13, LFNKR joined other Japanese NGOs in public protests against North Korea's nuclear test. Despite the current widespread starvation,the NK regime continues military spending. The missile launch in December would have fed all of NK's starving for 2 years.
Baby Born to Rescued Refugees
Three years ago, a young couple escaped from NK. They spent a year hiding in China while they repeatedly tried to reach freedom. They finally arrived safely in Japan, and now, after 2 years in their new adopted country, they are proud parents of a baby girl they've named Sumi.
Japan Takes Stand on NK Human Rights
On January 25 Japanese officials confirmed that the government will begin negotiating through the UN with other
governments for establishment of a new commission of inquiry on North Korea and Human Rights. More details are available in the downloadable PDF report.
Prison-Born Escapee 'Adopted'
Sometimes the articles appearing on this website have more impact than we know. An email from a family in the US tells how, thanks to one story appearing here, they became aware of a NK refugee who had been born in a prison camp. Their hearts reached out to this young man and they found a way to get in touch with him, eventually including him in their family.
Intern Gains Experience with LFNKR
A young university student who worked as an intern with LFNKR this past summer gained valuable experience as part of an ICNK lobbying team that approached Japanese lawmakers to help spread information about the human rights record and many violations committed by North Korea. This is that intern's report on his experiences.
Book Review - Escape from Camp 14
Author Blaine Harden spent two years interviewing Shin Dong-hyuk, an escapee from North Korea's infamous Camp 14. The result of all those interviews is this book. Though it makes shocking reading, it sheds important light on the heart of North Korea's political regime. This review will give you a sense of what awaits you in the book itself.
Latest Launch Condemned
Yesterday, North Korea launched yet another long range missile that it could ill afford, while millions of its people die the slow death of starvation. Experts estimate that the money spent on this one launch could have fed all its citizens for two full years. We condemn this callus and blind mismanagement of the nation's resources.
UN Resolution Rips NK
The UN last month issued its annual report on human
rights abuses in North Korea. Refusing to side with its long-time ally, China also signed
off on the resolution, which sharply criticized many of the practices in NK.
LFNKR's 2012 Annual Report
Despite the death of "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il
and the change of regime, nothing much is changing in North Korea. People continue to starve in
huge numbers, political camps still hold hundreds of thousands of prisoners, and disaster after
disaster plagues the country. Our group's task of helping NK's victims continues unabated.
Defector Comments on NK Prison Camp Photos
A special report "North Korea's Camp
No. 22" was released recently, with photos detailing changes over the past months. These photos, according to some observers, suggest that the infamous political prison camp has been re-purposed as a farming center, with coal mining operations winding down. Other experts are reserving judgment.
10,000 Expected to Starve in NK Drought
With virtually no rain falling in the northern areas, plants are withering and the rural elderly as well as the very young are most at risk of starvation. This natural disaster only compounds the failures of that country's policies. And because of North Korea's aggressive stance, some countries are now reluctant to send aid.
Korean Consulate in Bankok Notified about Orphans
The two North Korean kkot-jebi (street children) suffering from tuberculosis have now escaped China and reached Thailand. There, they hope that the South Korean Consulate in Bangkok will help them reach South Korea, where they can receive the health care they need.
Two Orphans Require Rescue
LFNKR currently cares for eight North Korean orphans in a cave in China's Jilin Province. Two of these eight orphans have tuberculosis requiring prompt medical treatment. Hospitals, however, must report all such cases to authorities, who would send the children automatically back to North Korea. There, they would face prison rather than treatment.
NK Orphan Needs Artificial Feet
LFNKR recently received a letter from a 13-year-old homeless NK child being sheltered in China. The boy lost his feet due to frostbite aggravated by severe burns. Now, following urgent medical treatment, he needs to receive prostheses to walk.
Cherry-Blossom Viewing Party in Tokyo
On April 8, LFNKR members gathered with a number of former NK refugees to enjoy the cherry blossoms in full bloom at Shinjuku Park in Tokyo. The five-hour "Ohanami" party fostered greater awareness of issues faced by the resettled refugees.
Flying Snack Cakes for Freedom
LFNKR, working jointly with several
South Korean NGOs, launched 20 large balloons into the skies above North Korea to carry
100 kilograms of snack cakes, along with a total of 3,000 leaflets. Part of the project
was financed by donations received through this website.
NK Refugee Reaches 1st Level
Just three years after arriving in Japan, I have passed Level 1 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, so I decided to write about my experience in the hope that it might encourage others. A heartfelt urge to thank her benefactors drove one woman's determination to excel.
NK Freedom Week Starts Sunday in Seoul
The 9th annual North Korea Freedom Week starts this Sunday in Seoul, while a simultaneous NK Freedom Week event will be underway in London. Many of the events are being led by former North Korean refugees.
3000 NK Prisoners Granted Amnesty
To mark Kim Il-sung's 100th birthday, amnesty has been granted to more than three thousand prisoners languishing in NK prisons and camps. At the same time, officials responsible for the recent missile launch faced firings and possible prison terms for the very public failure of the launch.
NK Defectors Tell About Death Camp 12
In Osaka recently, 3 former prisoners in NK Death Camp 12 "Chongo-ri Kyo Hwa So" described their experiences in the camp before escaping. Many drawings were also displayed depicting tortures routinely practiced there.
NK to Launch a Rocket Soon
On March 16, the North Korean government announced plans to launch their Gwangmyunsung-3 rocket in mid-April. This launch, they claim, is to put a satellite into orbit, but observers suspect military intentions.
China's Yanbian Province Changing
Special report on a visit by LFNKR staff member - in response to modernization, many ethnic Koreans have immigrated to South Korea. But our shelter facilities for orphan NK "shadow children" are still going strong.
Begun for Rescuing NK Refugees
More than 30 North Korean refugees are sitting in Chinese jails, awaiting return to the country they fled. They know that if sent back, they face prison, beatings and possibly even public execution. However, a petition now being circulated via the Internet may change their future.
New Propaganda Boosting Kim-Jong-un
Fresh government measures in NK appear aimed at enhancing public sentiment toward the new ruler, Kim Jong-un. Ranging from reduced demands on farmers to a clampdown on local corruption, the new rules seem to be working as people's comments regarding the young leader turn more positive.
Sending in the Choco Pies
We've been working for years to nurture the bodies of the North Korean poor and refugees. Now we want to do something different to help lift their spirits.
This Valentine's Day we will be sending in a large shipment of Choco Pies to give a small taste of the plenty and luxury that their own government is keeping them from. But to do it right, we need help. Read more about this project and why we think it's time to adjust our approach just a bit.
NK People Uncertain Over New Leader's Status
The people of North Korea face insecurity over who their real leader is, now that Kim Jong-il has died. They can be heard openly engaging in political discussions, which was previously unknown. In addition, the current food shortage and harsh winter conditions are intensifying the apprehension.
LFNKR Foster Education Scholarships Up
In August of last year LFNKR awarded 20 Foster Education Scholarships to ethnic North Korean children in China. The children are eager to learn, and they enjoy being students. Chinese policies would deny an education to these "shadow children" born of North Korean mothers and Chinese fathers.
New Book, Why Peace, Offers 77 Ways to Peace
January 23, 2012:
LFNKR board member Takayuki Noguchi is a contributor to a newly released book titled "Why Peace." Other contributors include former state officials and political prisoners, military officers, economists and activists, all of whom concur that the time for peace is now.
Food Prices Still Unstable in NK
Wealthy merchants and priviliged families appear to be
hoarding food commodities and speculating on price changes as the political mood in North Korea
shifts almost daily. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens remain near starvation, unable to afford what
little food is available.
Korean Public Voicing Complaints
The NK public are starting to complain more openly. This marks a sea change in a country that, until recently, held its "Dear Leader" in apparent awe and reverence. Many also seem to be turning to fortune tellers, some of whom are making dire predictions if "the Kim family continues to maintain its grip on power."
Flow of Refugees Re-starts
Following the period of mourning for Kim Jong-il, NK refugees are once again making their way into China as they flee starvation. But robberies and other crimes by defectors have turned Chinese citizens against all NK refugees.
New Leader Campaign Begun
NK authorities have launched efforts to entrench Kim Jong-un, third son of the late Kim Jong-il, as the new beloved leader. At the same time, they are clamping down even harder on travel and communication, with cell phone signals now being tracked 24-hours a day.
NK Execs Also Cold, Hungry
Even the executives at state-run companies are going without food and being forced to sit in unheated offices to maintain the official conditions of mourning for Kim Jong-il. Meanwhile, virtually all cross-border traffic has disappeared.
Rice Priced Out of Reach in NK
The latest report from staff members in North Korea
reveals that food is quickly becoming more costly. A typical monthly salary will not buy
one kilogram of rice, so drastically have prices risen since the death of Kim Jong-il.
Infighting Among Kim Jong-il Sons Expected
Private reports from our staff members in North Korea continue to filter in. The people in that country are reportedly now discussing openly which of the sons might seize power, and whether the country is too impoverished to back up its long-time military stance.
All Year-End Events Cancelled in NK
With the death of Kim Jong-il, authorities in North Korea have declared martial law and cancelled all annual events, including the yearly birthday celebration for Kim Jong-il's mother. To further heighten security, cell phone signals are being monitered closely.
Mourn Not for Kim Jong-il
In Tokyo, LFNKR and other organizations involved in the North Korean human rights issue will hold a rally to mourn the uncounted victims of the North Korean regime. We intend this rally to remind Japan and the entire world of the serious human rights issues in North Korea still crying out to be addressed.
North Korea Under Martial Law
North Korea, where security has always been extremely tight, is now in the grip of an even harsher clamp-down following the death of Kim Jong-il, who ran the country for the past 17 years. Guards along the country's border with other countries have been issued live amunition, and the roads are shut down.
LFNKR Annual Report Released for 2011
Changes in the economic climate are greviously impacting the quality of life in North Korea, but it is also affecting the scope of work that LFNKR can do on behalf of refugees seeking a better life outside North Korea. At the same time, we are starting to witness a bit of grudging acceptance within China for second-generation defector children.
Food Prices Still on the Rise in NK
LFNKR staff members conducted a survey earlier this week of food prices in North Korea, and results reveal that the cost of eating continues to soar. Rice and corn have been particularly price sensitive, with figures nearly doubling in some areas over the past four months.
Teach NK Refugees Language, Social Skills
This organization has created a language and culture training course to help North Korean refugees merge more successfully into Japanese society. The first-ever group of students recently completed the 60-day term of instruction.
Food Booth Helps Raise Funds
LFNKR had a booth at the recent Global Festival Japan, held in Tokyo, and former NK refugees joined us to help raise funds for further rescue work. Once again, LFNKR mascot, Momo, was there as well.
Conference Gets Tough
On Sept. 8, about 40 human rights groups from 15 nations gathered in Tokyo to set up an NGO dedicated to stopping the crimes against humanity in North Korea. This conference wanted more than talk. It wanted real action.
LFNKR Aid Center Closed Down
The man running one of five shelters on the Sino-Korean
border has stopped helping. With China further tightening its crackdown on those aiding North Korean defectors,
he is calling it quits.
Thieves Being Shot in NK
North Korea's long-rumored Proclamation of Penalties for Stealing Rice has been confirmed. The document mandates severe penalties, up to and including execution, for those caught stealing rice, wasting it, or diverting it for personal gain. The Proclamation is said to have been issued during the NK famine of 1997.
Consumer Prices in NK
Recent price research by LRNKR reveals the prices of common food items. It is now claimed that widespread starvation seems to have abated for the time being. On the other hand, figures show that the average monthly wage in North Korea barely purchases a kilogram of rice.
to Tsunami Victims
A North Korean refugee couple recently donated 20,000 toothbrushes to help Japan's tsunami victims. This was the couple's way of expressing thanks for all the help the couple have received from the people of this country.
NK Refugees Get Japanese Language Training
The Japanese government has approved a language
learning program for NK refugees, to be administered by LFNKR. The inaugural
class includes seven students, aged from 35 to 62.
LFNKR Translates White Paper on NK Human Rights
This organization has translated into Japanese the 410-page "White Paper on Human Rights" published by the Korea Institute for National Unification, the first time a Japanese version has ever been made available.
Food Prices Rising in North Korea
Our group's most recent study of food prices in NK reveals that food is growing still more expensive. Some families are finding it necessary to borrow at usurious rates of 200 percent, just to avoid starvation. We also help two cooperative farms expand their crop yields with better seed stock.
Dying from Lack of Basic Surgical Supplies in NK
Miss A witnessed 3 patients in the same ward as her mother being carried out dead on the day she was there. One of them was a young woman, aged 26. She heard that all were simple appendectomy operations, but when their abdomens became suppurated, the result was death.
Hand Knitted Gifts for North Korean Refugees
Ms. A, now in her eighties, was once a refugee who escaped from Hungary when it was under Soviet rule. Now she spends part of each week hand knitting warm winter wear for North Korean refugees. She does this, she says, because she knows how it feels to be a refugee.
for the Starving
This past winter we supplied clothing, rice and first aid kits to hundreds starving in rural North Korea. Observers say conditions are worsening, so we are starting early to gather funds for next winter's needs.
Paper Cranes for Japan's Restoration
The "Students Rebuild" group, together with
DoSomething.org and the Bezos family, invites students worldwide to help Japan by folding 100,000
paper cranes as a statement of solidarity with students in the stricken area.
Kato Answers Emails of Concern
The emails pouring in to LFNKR
from our friends both in Japan and abroad have been asking if we are safe. All of us at LFNKR deeply appreciate
your concern and your kindness. We are...
Former Refugee Plays Chopin
Only a year old when her
family reached Japan, this young girl loves playing piano. Her mother and
father have also learned the language and now run a successful pension.
Young NK Refugees
Thriving in Japan
Two former North Korean refugees, now in their mid-twenties, recently passed top levels in Japan's national language certification exams while working fulltime jobs. Each of them as been in Japan for only 3 years.
LFNKR Annual Report Released
Though the reputation of LFNKR continues to grow internationally, our emphasis remains where it has always been, on the basics. We continue to give most of our energy and attention to helping North Korean refugees and orphaned or abandoned NK children trying to survive within China.
Dog Boosts Donations at Rally
At a rally in Tokyo last month, Momoko, a dog owned by an LFNKR director, became this organization's first active member dog. Momoko's participation helped boost donations to a new high.
Book Details Life in North Korea
Nothing To Envy, A book about ordinary lives in North Korea
by Barbara Demick. The author spent six years researching the life of ordinary people in North Korea, interviewing defectors and viewing smuggled photographs and videos. This book details life under the most repressive totalitarian regime in the world today.
Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Chinese Activist
With the first Nobel Peace Prize ever awarded to a Chinese citizen going to Mr. Liu Xiaobo, the world community hopes that China will join mainstream society in respecting human rights. A promising step in that direction would be to release this newest Nobel laureate from his prison cell.
Poor Health Plaguing Children of NK Defector Women
Recently we had a doctor examine the health of 8 abandoned children of NK mothers in China who had been forcibly repatriated to North Korea. In every case the doctor found stunted growth or malnutrition - or both.
Famine and "Barley Mountain " Prompt Increased Defections
The sinking of the ship Cheonan has brought tensions to the breaking point between North Korea and China. With tourism and trade down to nearly nothing, starving North Koreans are left with no food, no resources and no hope in their own country.
LFNKR Initiating Starvation Relief Campaign
Now that North Korea has alienated former aid contributors, starvation is hitting hard, especially in the flood-ravaged northern districts. Both food and medicines have grown scarce, leaving ordinary NK citizens nowhere to turn. LFNKR begins a food relief effort aimed at those being abandoned to starvation by the NK government.
Letter to Chinese Authorities
LFNKR recently acquired a copy of a letter sent to Chinese authorities by a private citizen living in the United Kingdom. This letter clearly outlines some of the more critical issues now facing both China and North Korea, and their possible impact if the wrong decisions are made.
Attempts Blackmail of Japan over North Korean Refugees
China continues its demand that Japan sign an illegal agreement in exchange for the freedom of North Korean refugees who sought refuge inside Japanese missions in China. Some of the refugees have been there for as long as 2 years.
Children - 2 Success Stories
Our organization received wonderful news recently regarding two North Korean children, both of whom have been sheltered and cared for under the LFNKR education sponsorship program. One, whose parents starved to death, has reached the UK, and the other, aged only nine, has been reunited with his mother.
LFNKR Members Visit Golden Triangle
As part of this organization's ongoing rescue research activities, LFNKR dispatched several members to the Northern Thailand border area in early July 2010. A brief report.
Sends Warm, Hand Knitted Clothing
One donor in the US prefers to send practical gifts, so she personally knits caps, mufflers and mittens to help keep LFNKR's foster children warm in the cold northern China winters.
NK Woman with Moxa Marks
A woman who appeared unexpectedly at one of our shelters in China requesting medical assistance suffered from hyperthyroidism, with swollen throat. Proper medicines are not available in North Korea.
They Won't Reap What They Sow
June 12, 2010:
Chinese farmers in Yanji saw those North Korean people planting rice seedlings and commented that the type of rice they are planting in North Korea is vulnerable to cool summer damage, so it will never survive the coming summer.
Survivor of NK Starvation Speaks
At the Jan. 29 preview of the movie "Crossing" in Tokyo, one of LFNKR's foster children spoke at the press conference about her experiences.Now a university student, she was orphaned when her parents starved in NK.
to Bangkok's Immigrant Detention Center
ARNKA Director Ebihara, with LFNKR member, visited Thailand's IDC in early February and talked for two hours with a group of newly arrived NK defectors. Conditions in the center have improved in the past two years.
State Dept. Honors LFNKR's Kato
The US State Department, on 26 April, presented a special certificate to LFNKR Executive Director Kato Hiroshi in a ceremony at the US embassy in Tokyo in recognition for years of work on behalf of North Korean refugees.
LFNKR Director Publishes Book in Japan
Noguchi Takayuki, one of this organization's directors, relates how he was jailed in China six-and-a-half years ago for engaging in humanitarian work. His book, "Escaping with North Korean Defectors," was released to bookstores and Amazon Japan on April 10, 2010.
Food Prices Out of Control in NK
Reports from inside North Korea say food prices are skyrocketing. Wheat flour is almost 25 times more expensive then just four months ago. Rice has risen almost 8 times and corn is almost 5 times higher. Inflation is so bad that those who don't buy in the morning pay more in the afternoon.
Dispatches 2 Members to UN Working Group
On December 2, LFNKR dispatched two delegates to Geneva to participate
in the 6th session of the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on Human Rights. A few weeks ago, LFNKR had submitted a report on the NK human rights
situation jointly with Human Rights Without Frontiers. The UN Group has now cited
this joint report on at least fifteen points in its Review. Read the
UN Review here.
Letter to Japan's Prime Minister Hatoyama
LFNKR, together with three other human rights
groups, has sent a letter of recommendations to Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Japan's policy
toward North Korea's human rights and refugees. Read the full text of the letter here.
See an NK Refugee Escape Route in Person
A one-day tour has been organized to visit Chiang Sean, the small town in northern Thailand where we recently donated supplies for NK refugees being held by Thai police prior to being forwarded to Bangkok.
for NK Refugees Detained in Thailand
LFNKR took medicines and other supplies to a local police station in northern Thailand for North Korean refugees being detained there. The rising flood of refugees is stretching official budgets thin.
Foster Child Weds - LFNKR Invited
A wedding invitation from one of our earliest foster children gladdened our hearts recently. Read the story of the wedding - and how our foster children program first began. We hope for many more joyous occasions like this.
Who Planned Abduction of 2 US Journalists?
July 22, 2009:
Many unanswered questions surround the arrest and imprisonment of two female journalists recently. Some suspect the two were victims of political motives, and will be used as bargaining pawns.
Resettling NK Defectors in USA
July 22, 2009:
This special report provides facts and stats on how many North Korean refugees manage to reach western nations and some of the programs that are in place for integrating them into society.
Panicked Chinese Students Evacuated
July 22, 2009:
Students and teachers fled school buildings when NK nuclear test caused earthquake-like tremors. Now public sentiment has turned fiercely against their neighbor for causing panic and fear.
Prosecute Kim Jon-il
July 22, 2009:
Our organization's Kato Hiroshi suggests that filing a lawsuit with ICC (International Criminal Court) could direct the light of public attention onto the dictator's barbarous acts and human rights abuses.
Protesting NK Resident's Organization in Japan
July 22, 2009:
In an effort to focus greater pressure on North Korea and its regime, a protest was held at the headquarters of the Ass'n. of NK Residents in Japan, a group that acts as defacto NK embassy in Tokyo.
US NGO Report - 'Lives for Sale'
For the first time, a US-based NGO has published a report on the human trafficking of NK women in China. Asian NGOs have issued such reports, but this is the first from a major western organization.
LFNKR Seeks Closer Ties with UN
LFNKR has recently begun working to build and deepen ties to the United Nations, since resolving the many human rights issues related to North Korea requires international cooperation.
Shadow Children National ID
The number of children in China who have no national identity papers continues to rise. The offspring of NK mothers and Chinese men, they are termed "shadow children"
NK Foster Kids
Write "Report Cards"
It is always a joy when we receive a packet of letters from China written by our North Korean foster children about their school achievements. Grades reveal some truly gifted students.
Unexpected Gifts of Love
Three days ago a package filled with knitted goods arrived at the LFNKR office in Tokyo. They were sent by a lady in the US, who hand-made all of them herself.
Crunch Also Hits LFNKR
North Korean refugees are falling victim to the current worldwide financial crisis. Plunging donations are slashing LFNKR's rescue activities, bringing potential disaster for many of the North Korean refugees now waiting for our help.
Treatment of Repatriated NK Refugees
April 30, 2009:
In this interview, a 65-year-old North Korean man describes in harrowing detail the hardships and brutal treatment facing refugees after Chinese authorities repatriate them back to North Korea.
Japanese Wives Victimized By Brokers
The Japan-born wife of a North Korean was arrested in Japan for helping a Chinese couple enter Japan illegally. A Chinese broker reportedly threatened to sell her into slavery to coerce her cooperation.
SK President's Policies Ignore Refugees
Groups dedicated to North Korean human rights are disappointed by SK President Lee Myung-bak, since his policies toward North Korea have failed to live up to early promises.
Experts Urge Japan - Accept All NK Defectors
Japan's policy systematically refuses admission to the NK defectors who would have the most useful knowledge of North Korea's inner workings. This prevents the formation of policies based on accurate, real-world information.
First Hints of Free Journalism for North Korea
Publisher Jiro Ishimaru seeks out and publishes timely information from inside North Korea. His goal, to aid in the healing of that country's current "illness" and a re-uniting with the world community at large.
on Refugees and Human Rights in Asia
The Seminar, held in Tokyo, was co-hosted by LFNKR and the Society to Help Returnees to North Korea. Speakers from several other groups also appeared, and wide-ranging discussions involved both representatives and attendees.
Receives NK Human Rights Review
On 20 April 2009, our organization, jointly with Human Rights Without Frontiers, submitted the Universal Periodic Review of North Korea to the UN Human Rights Council. Read the full review here.
to Obama Administration
The president of a major American NGO having strong ties with the US government visited Japan in early March. During the visit, LFNKR met with him to discuss the North Korean refugee issue.
China May Recognize Some NK Refugees
Unofficial hints and rumors coming out of China suggest that the Chinese government may be considering the granting of refugee status to limited numbers of North Korean defectors.
Part 2 of Kim Chun Gun's Story
He really just wanted to start and run a yakitori restaurant in Japan, but thanks to miles of bureaucratic red tape, that dream looked forever out of reach. Read the conclusion of Kim's odyssey.
Seminar on Refugees & Human Rights to Be Held in Tokyo
On Saturday, March 14th, experts, activists and others interested in refugees and human rights in Asia will convene in Tokyo for an international seminar. Those wishing to attend are urged to apply early, since space is limited
Kato Addresses Thai University
On Jan. 23, Kato Hiroshi, of LFNKR gave the first lecture on North Korean human rights and refugees ever to be presented at Chiang Mai University, the largest university in northern Thailand. About 60 students attended Kato's talk.
Letter Sent to US Secretary of State
LFNKR has sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton via the American Embassy in Tokyo. Clinton will be making an official state visit to Japan beginning Feb. 16, 2009.
LFNKR Awarded Human Rights Prize
On 7 Jan. 2009 Kato Hiroshi received the Tokyo Bar Association's prestigious human rights award on behalf of LFNKR for its work in rescuing North Korean refugees. Full speech text.
Global Festival in Tokyo Proves Popular
Tokyo was the site of a global festival celebrating each person's global citizenship. The two day event, which was kicked off on International Cooperation day, attracted nearly 40,000 people each day it was open.
Interview with a Former NK Refugee
A new regular feature at this website will be interviews with NK refuges who have made it to safety and are now settling into their new homes. The first in this series is a conversation with 26-year-old Kim Chun Gun, who left North Korea 8 years ago to escape the widespread starvation.
Downloadable Brochure You Can Use
If your friends and colleagues don't quite understand your interest in the North Korean human rights issue, download this PDF brochure, print out copies and hand them around. It briefly tells the story and points them to this website.
Human Rights Seminar in Thailand
Thailand, a rising influence in the East Asian arena, hosted a seminar recently to discuss the human rights abuses taking place in North Korea. The immediate effect of these abuses is the growing flood of refugees through this country.
Report on LFNKR Activities in FY 2007-2008
LFNKR continues its efforts to help rescue NK refugees, even as the Chinese authorities step up their draconian measures to arrest and return the refugees to face severe punishment, including summary execution.
American Peace Worker Honored in Seoul
Suzanne Scholte, president of the Defense Forum Foundation in Washington DC, has long urged the world to look more closely at North Korea's record of human rights abuses. Now she has received recognition for her work.
LFNKR's Kato Addresses Int'l Conference
Mr. Hiroshi Kato, executive Director of this organization, spoke in Seoul recently to an international gathering of groups devoted to providing aid to North Koreans refugees and focusing world attention on their situation.
Award Goes to Christian
Activist Assisting NK Refugees
An estimated 300,000 NK refugees live in fear, hiding in China.
And Tim Peters, human rights activist has made a career of
helping them. Now Mr. Peters is receiving recognition for his
NK Spy a Modern-Day
North Korean woman was arrested recently by SK police
for spying. Also active in other countries, she
allegedly attempted to locate NK refugees who have
sought refuge in Japan.
Wins High Praise
movie, which took 4 years to complete, tells the true
story of refugees flooding out of North Korea seeking
survival and freedom. The Korean
Film Council has submitted 'Crossing' to 81st Academy
Awards for consideration.
Update on NK-China
North Korean has virtually stopped issuing travel passes
into China, authorities in China are arresting hundreds
and repatriating them to face harsh reprisals, including
prison, beatings and more.
NK Defector Escapes
China after 14 Years
of a Japanese mother who had immigrated to North Korea
escaped into China, then spent 14 years trying to reach
Japan. With no help coming from Japanese consulates,
she finally receives help from South Korea.
Follow-up Visit with
Orphans Held Last Year in Laos
visited two of the three orphan children who were being
held last year
in a jail in
Laos. They are now free and attending school in South Korea
and dreaming of the careers they will pursue once they graduate.
Former Foster Child
in LFNKR Shelter Now a Mom
endings really are possible. Last month, a baby girl,
was born to one of LFNKR's former North Korean orphans who
attended our education sponsorship program. The mother is
now married and living near Seoul.
Letters from NK
Refugee Kids in Hidden Shelters
letters received from foster children
currently in first to third grades.
These children are being supported in hidden shelters
in China under LFNKR’s education sponsorship
NK Refugees Tell
of Stricter Border Security
unwelcome surprise now greets anyone trying to take
food from China
to North Korea. Security has been stepped up,
and guards are now demanding much bigger bribes to
Campaign Across Europe for NK Rights
is joining the bicycling campaign hosted by the organization
Justice for North Korea." The campaign will publicize
the issue of North Korean human rights violations.
Events, performances and demonstrations are planned
for many cities in Europe and the UK.
LFNKR's Kato Speaks
Out on Government Policies
Hiroshi, Executive Director of this organization, spoke
at Korea Christian University's International Conference
on June 2. He discussed Japanese policies toward North
Korean refugees and revealed the problems
the refugees must deal with when settling in Japan.
Senator Nixes Ambassador Nominee over NK Human Rights
Sen. Sam Brownback has placed a hold on the nomination
of Kathleen Stephens as ambassador to South Korea after
she failed to answer his questions satisfactorily regarding
North Korean human rights violations. Watch this video
of Brownback's impassioned Senate speech.
Olympic Torch Relay Protest
faced a cold rain and 3,000 guards to protest
the Olympic Torch Relay in Nagano Japan on April 26th.
Ironically, the event coincided with the start of North
Korea Freedom Week, a protest
of China's treatment of NK refugees
Raises Bounty on NK Refugees 1600%
are starting to filter out of China of huge new bounties
being paid to citizens for turning in North Korean
defectors, or anyone helping them. Authorities
now seem so obsessed with "foreign elements" that
Christian churches are being summarily shut down for
any foreign association.
Describe Winter Nightmare
Korean refugees answer direct questions about the conditions
driving them to flee their country. One stated that
in the markets, more people are selling than buying
of scarce money. Another suggested that survival without
stealing is increasingly difficult.
Hunting Down Refugees, Aid Workers Ahead of Olympics
are exerting increasing
pressure on North Korean
refugees and the aid workers attempting to help them.
China appears intent on scouring the country of any
potentially embarrassing elements that could harm its
image during the Beijing Olympics later thiis year.
on Foster Parent Programme
begain its Foster Parent / Education Programme in
1998. In those ten years, as the children in our care
grew into young adults, our organization's mission
has necessarily shifted.
to China's Hu on Behalf of 4 NK Prisoners
send a letter like this one to President Hu of China
requesting protection of 4 NK prisoners
about to be repatriated. Several recent public
in North Korea
suggest that the man and 3 women now in Shenyang
Border Patrol Detention Center could face the same fate.
Japan's 2nd Annual NK Human Rights Public Awareness Week
of government-hosted events as well as international
conferences and symposiums on the topic of North Korean
Human Rights were held in Osaka, Tokyo and Sendai,
attracting attendees and representatives from eight
Video of Washington DC Protest
this 10-minute video of the protest on November 30th
and December 1st 2007. The North Korea Freedom
Coalition's worldwide protest was held in 11 countries
including the USA. This video shows the protest
at the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC.
Trial in China for NK Activist
Yoo Sang-joon was arrested while trying to help other
North Koreans escape from China. Now he is being railroaded
with a fast-track trial, apparently to get rid
of him before
the rest of the world knows what is happening.
Planned to Save North Korean Refugees
led by the North Korea Freedom Coalition, is planning
demonstrations in front of Chinese embassies and consulates
in many nations around the world to protest
China's violent treatment of North Korean refugees.
Here are the details.
wish to send a letter of protest to China's Hu Jintao,
you may want to use this sampe as a template. It covers
the points of human trafficking, denial of basic human
rights to second generation NK children, and China's
refusal to admit UNHCR inspectors.
Trafficking Victim -- Lee Sun Ja
I was three years old, my parents suddenly disappeared.
Nobody knows if they died or if they were sent into
a work camp for political prisoners." Thus
begins the story of Sun Ja, former street child,
escapee to China and human trafficking victim.
Trafficking Victim -- Choi Chong-mi
pregnant, frightened and nearly starving, Chong-mi
met a man who helped North Korean women escape to China
and plenty of food. Once in China, however, this humanitarian
sold her for 3,000 RMB.
Plan for Coming Fiscal Year
fiscal year means new plans for expanding our reach.
Read our new 9-point plan for reaching and rescuing
more North Korean refugees than ever before. A growing
threat is human trafficking.
Escapee from North
Korea Sold as Slave to a Sex Chat Site
woman and her mother escaped North Korea, only to fall
into the hands of human traffickers. First sold to
a sex chat site, she was beaten until she performed,
then later sold as wife/caretaker of a mentally
Two Former NK Orphans
Now Happily Wed
stories do have happy endings. One of our former
foster children grew up, reached safety in South
Korea, and was enrolled in the refugee resettlement
last month when they announced their marriage.
Report on LFNKR Activities
in FY 2006
years ago, most of the NK children we
sheltered were "kochebi," street kids orphaned by the
widespread starvation in NK. Now we see a growing
number of kids born of sex slave mothers sold
to Chinese men.
of Bangkok Conference on NK Refugees
170 participants and 20 international journalists packed
the conference hall
at Bangkok's Ambassador Hotel to receive reports on North
Korean refugees and their human rights situation.
to National Human Rights Commission of Thailand
at the September 17-21 International
Conference in Bangkok issued a joint
statement praising Thailand's efforts to help North
Korean refugees and urging additional measures to smooth
the way for ensuring full human rights to North
Koreans seeking freedom.
Human Rights Activist
Kim Sang Hun
rights activist, Kim Sang Hun, called for China, a signatory
nation to the 1951
UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, to
recognize North Korean defectors as true refugees.
Speaks on Human Trafficing of NK Women
organization's executive director, Kato Hiroshi, addressed
the issue of human trafficking of North Korean women
and children. He also detailed some of the services provided
by this NGO.
Special Envoy Addresses Bangkok Conference
Deputy Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea, Christian
Whiton, outlined the United States' policy to help win
full human rights for people all over the world, and
specifically those of NK refugees.
I Was a Political Prisoner
at Birth in North Korea
Dong-hyuk was born in a political labor prison. His earliest
memories are of cruelty, violence, and brutality almost
beyond description. Read the story of his
childhood struggle to stay alive.
Group Censures China for NK Refugee Treatment
group's joint statement begins: "Human rights
are the most basic and fundamental rights given to
man. Over time, the increasing level of human rights
given to citizens strongly indicates the progress and
Call to Boycott Beijing Olympics
members of the US Congress have introduced legislation
calling for a boycott of the Olympics slated to be
held in the Chinese capital in 2008. The document cites
serious human rights violations by China.
North Korean Refugee Flooding Victims
have now hit North Korea for 10 consecutive years,
but this summer's flooding has caused unusually heavy
damage in 6 of 9 provinces, which is
expected to cause food shortages as serious
NK Defector Couple
Face Death... or Life
couple who were taken by their parents to North Korea
decades ago are now adults and seeking to get back
to the country of their birth. One of LFNKR's local
members went to Yanbian Prefecture,
in China recently to interview
Needs Refugee Settlement Program ASAP
was rocked recently when four North Korean defectors
sailed into an Aomori port in a seven-meter wooden
boat. With the arrival
of these four, the spotlight instantly shifted from
the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea,
and riveted attention on the
rapidly growing flow of North
of North Korean Human Rights Act
the primary points of the Japanese North Korean Human
Rights Act, which takes up the human rights violations
committed by North Korea, including abductions, and
it calls for increased awareness of North Korean human
rights issues as well as the need to deter further
human rights abuses.
IPCNKR 4th Annual Conference to Be Held in Seoul
International Parliamentarians' Coalition for North
Korean Refugees' Human Rights (IPCNKR) will hold their
4th General Meeting in Seoul, Korea during the three
days of August 28 (Tuesday) to August 30 (Thursday).
Girl, 17, Tells of
Two Years in Sexual Slavery
Chun Hwa was just 11 when she first came
under the protection of our shelter. In 2005, human
traffickers seized her, and she spent 2 years
as the "wife" of a Chinese man, where she
suffered constant abuse by her "husband" and
his twin brother.
Interview with Street Beggar - Ambition: to Start a Business
was so small he looked like a mere child, but this
26-year-old "kotchebi" (street
urchin) in China didn't intend
to stay a beggar. His dream - save enough money to
start a small business and support his grandmother.
Read our man's interview with this "kotchebi."
3 NK Orphans Headed
for Orientation Classes
were released to the custody of the South Korean government
on April 24th and reached Incheon Airport April 26th.
During their first month in South Korea, they are undergoing
debriefing. Next they will be transferred to Hanawon,
a cultural orientation facility that helps defectors
integrate into South Korean society.
Letter of Appeal
to Prime Minister of Thailand
the recent military takeover in Thailand, North Korean refugees
were quickly and humanely allowed to transit to South Korea
and freedom. Now that process has slowed to a crawl, and
currently 400 sit crowded into a jail built to hold just
50 to 100. This is the letter of appeal that LFNKR sent to
the acting prime minister of Thailand.
Slated for April 28, 2007
starvation and harsh repression, North Koreans escape to
China. But China refuses to acknowledge them as refugees.
They are actively hunted down and shipped back "home." Please
join the international protest to be held worldwide on April
Report from a Refugee
Who Made It Back
When Mr. Park was 4 years old, his family moved from
Japan to North Korea. But things didn't work out as promised.
So in 1999, he fled to China to escape the famine and starvation.
In China life was hard, but eventually he met someone from
LFNKR who helped him arrange an escape to freedom.
2 Tons of Rice
Distributed to Poor in Hamgyong
local staff member entered North Korea with rice and simple
medications for distribution to the extremely needy. He relates
his experiences dealing with the poor, and with the authorities
along the way.
3 Orphans Freed
Tuesday, April 24th, the 3 North Korean orphans left
their jail cell accompanied by the South Korean consul,
who took them to the embassy. Now they are free of
the threat of being sent back
Freedom Week Slated for US Capital this April
Government leaders, activists, NGOs and many individuals
will be in Washington DC the week of April
- 27, 2007
for this year's North Korea Freedom Week. Programs
will all be focused on the human rights situation in
CNN Looks Inside
a North Korean Escape Route
exclusive footage aired April 15th, CNN's Dan Rivers
gives viewers a look inside an 'underground railroad'
Koreans hoping to escape to South Korea.
3 NK Orphans' Letters
Released to News Media
a press conference April 12, 2007 at the Foreign Correspondents'
Club in Tokyo as part of our efforts to save the three
NK Orphans being detained in a Laos jail. Englsh
translations of letters written by the three orphans
were distributed to journalists present. This breaking
story has captured interest around the world.
Former NK Orphan
Sends Thanks Email in English
Although Chol Song received the bare minimum of education
during his years of hiding in China, now that he is
safe in South Korea, he is eagerly studying and making
up for lost time.
He recently went to Australia for a short, intensive
Many North Korean women sold into forced "marriages"
bear children, then are arrested by Chinese authorities
and repatriated. Their children are often left to fend
for themselves. We recently interviewed
several of these children about the problems they face
to survive on their own.
Fact-finding Mission to Thailand
From Feb. 25
to Mar. 1, LFNKR joined an international fact-finding
mission to Thailand to examine current conditions faced
by North Korean refugees in Thailand. This is our report
on that mission.
Expands its NK Food Supply Network
Emergency supplies that were recently distributed to
needy North Koreans included one ton of rice, clothing
antibiotics. Total value of items supplied was
300,000 yen (about US$2,500), financed
by recent donations.
LFNKR Exhibits at
NGO Festival in Osaka, Japan
At the Festival, LFNKR displayed items from everyday
life in North Korea. Staff members were surprised by
interest that visitors expressed in the
near-crumbling school textbooks.
The books attracted
crowds (click link above for photos).
from International Symposium in Tokyo
During the International Symposiumon North Korean Human
Rights held in Tokyo December 10th through 16th, our organization,
LFNKR, hosted two of the events. Photos and a link to streaming
video of 3 of the sessions.
Protest Day - Sample Letter
To mark a day of international protest against China's
continuing abuse of North Koreans' human rights, many
citizens groups around the world are mailing letters
to Chinese president Hu Jintao. Here is a sample letter
you can use as a guide for writing your own.
NEWS FLASH: Choi
Yong-hun Released Today
Jailed for nearly 4 years, humanitarian
aid worker Choi Yong-hun was released today and allowed
to return to South Korea. He was met by family members
at Incheon Airport, where he appeared extremely weak
following his long ordeal.
on North Korean Human Rights
Japanese lawmakers have specified
December 10-16 as North Korean Human Rights Week.
Thus, NGOs from Asia and around the world will convene
on Dec. 10th and 12th to share information
on solutions to issues connected with North
Korean human rights violations.
Border Guards Videotaped Shooting Religious Pilgrims
Video scenes on the Internet
show Chinese border guards shooting Tibetan pilgrims
cold blood. News stories reveal that the guards
later warned witnesses to remain silent about what
they saw. The group
of pilgrims included nuns and juvenile priests, and
at least two of the group were killed.
Letter to Ban Ki-moon
Eleven international human rights organizations and
NGOs have signed a joint letter to future Secretary
General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon of South
Korea. In the letter, the organizations express grave
concerns for the safety and rights of North Korean
refugees and call for an end to their repatriation
Family of Jailed Humanitarian Worker Struggling
In two recent letters,
one from the wife and the other from eldest daughter
of Choi Yong-hun, who was jailed
for helping North
Korean refugees, we learn what life is like for
the family of an imprisoned
Medical Kits for NK Refugees
It is a frightening fact that North Korean defectors
hiding in China cannot
go to hospitals when illness strikes. LFNKR is, therefore,
now beginning to supply home medical first-aid
kits to help North Korean refugees in the event of
Action Plan for FY 2006-2007
In the coming year, our group will continue to raise
funds and provide relief for North Korean refugees.
In addition, a growing world interest in North Korean
issues means that we will step up our activities to
provide accurate information about the conditions and
struggles that refugees
face as they continue to reach for freedom.
- Search This Website
Now you can search for the specific information you
need at this website (notice the new search form near
the top left of every
site has grown dramatically since it was begun
in 2002, and with it, the mass of data.
This search feature makes it easier to comb through
all our pages to find what you need...
a convenient new resource for keeping up with North
Activity Report - FY 2005-2006
We stepped up humanitarian rescue work for North
Korean refugees while expanding
our links to groups and individuals around the world.
We also spoke at a number of international conferences
Appeal to Thailand
organization, together with others, has jointly
submitted a formal appeal to the immigration authorities
of Thailand on behalf of the 175 North Korean refugees.
You may add your voice to this appeal by sending a
private letter to the Thai Ambassador in your
NK Refugees in Thai Custody
Thai government is talking with the United
Nations and the South Korean government following the
arrest of 175 North Koreans
who were hiding in a house in Bangkok. Following
a tip-off by neighbors, the Thai police raided a house
where they found 128 women, 37 men
and 10 children, all North Koreans...
Clothes Are Survival Gear
wrong clothing can mean arrest, repatriation and prison
for North Korean refugees hiding in China. If they don't
blend in, the
police notice them. And for these people, police attention equals
arrest. LFNKR is now working to supply summer clothing
that will help 500 refugees blend
Reports on Imprisoned NK Refugee Aid Worker
though the United States recently accepted
6 North Korean refugees, marking a dramatic change
in the situation of North Korean refugees, nothing
has changed for Choi Yong-hun. This South Korean
Huamanitarian aid worker still
sits in a jail cell in China...
NGO Members Named in NK Arrest Warrants
news media say that North
Korea has issued arrest warrants for
four Japanese NGO workers. Two
of the four men reportedly
named as suspects
in the abduction of North Korean citizens
are members of this
NGO, Life Funds for North Korean Refugees.
Mercy, No Justice for NK Mothers
years ago, a young North Korean
woman, fleeing to China to escape
starvation, was sold into a forced
marriage to a Chinese man. She
quickly became pregnant and gave
birth to a daughter. The mother
was arrested by a Chinese police
raid squad on Feb. 25. Her 5-year-old
daughter does not know what happened
to her mother.
Annual NK Freedom Week in Washington
North Korea Freedom Coalition will hold a
week-long event to run April 22 through
April 30, 2006
to draw greater public attention to the
North Korean people now suffering under that
with NK Border Shelter Staff Members
an LFNKR staff member visited some of our shelters
in China. An interview with some of the local staff members
working at one of the shelters brings us information
human trafficing - the buying and selling of women
and babies in the region - and starvation
to Pray for North Korea
Solidarity Worldwide has begun an initiative calling
for a Global Week of Prayer for North Korea. The Prayer
Week will run from June 19 ~ 25, 2006
Korea Calls Japanese NGOs Kidnappers
people of Japan were amazed February 7 when television
and newspapers announced that North Korea had accused
and 6 other Japanese NGO members of abducting North Korea citizens.
Report - January 2006
North Korean escapees usually need trafficking
brokers to escape into China. The brokers bribe guards and
police for safe passage, then often
sell the women as wives. They quickly bear children, but
many of the babies are
Life Funds for North
Representative: Kato Hiroshi
A-101 Nishi Kata Hyteru
2-2-8 Nishi Kata, Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo, Japan 113-0024
Tel / Fax +81-3-3815-8127