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Past News Highlights

Public Executions Captured on Smuggled


Video Shows Prisoner Beating


Our Worker Imprisoned in China

NK Freedom Day Rally in DC

29 Seek Sanctuary in Japanese School

US Congress Passes NK Human Rights Act


Open Letter

Boat People Update

Aid Worker Trial

Crackdown Update

12 Escapees Captured


2-Faced Policy

NGO Head Arrested

LFNKR Speaks in Seoul

LFNKR Registered Mail to China's
Jiang Zemin




Crowd Funding to the Rescue
     Decenber 11, 2014:
Back in 2003 we gave our visitors a new way of donating to help rescue NK refugees. It was called PayPal and you, our visitors, took to it immediately. Well, now there's a new option we think you might like. It's called "Crowd Funding", a fun and easy way to make donations that's gaining popularity fast.

2 N.K. Defectors Executed, 7 More to Prison Camps
     December 7, 2014:
In mid-2013, 9 young orphans were repatriated to N.K. and disappeared. Now we have reports of what became of them - 7 were sentenced to labor camps and 2 more were executed. Demonstrating that nothing has changed in N.K. except the name of the leader.

2014 Annual Report Overview
     November 29 , 2014:
In the past year, LFKR moved into a more advanced phase as our joint efforts with other NGOs have led to the UN issuing a resolution condemning North Korea for human rights abuses and recommending for the first time the prosecution of its leaders for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

Whitewash Goes to Prison
     October 29, 2014:
The notorious Yodok Prison Camp in North Korea, as part of a new PR effort, is finally being brightened up, but it's apparently only superficial. No prisoners are being freed; they're only getting transferred elsewhere.

Joint Statement Sent to Prime Minister Abe
     July 31, 2014:
A recent statement issued by five NGOs, jointly with LFNKR, has been sent to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urging the permanent resettlement in Japan of all Japanese spouses and family, including subsequent generations to grandchildren, related to ethnic Koreans who were resettled or "repatriated" to North Korea.

Follow LFNKR on Twitter
     July 9, 2014:
Tweet This! The LFNKR platform just keeps gowing with the recent addition of our new Twitter account. Get more news and comments regarding the goings-on of North Korea and their sad impact upon surrounding countries and people.

Open letter to China's President
     June 29, 2014:
Mr. Keigoh Tabira is no stranger to tragedy. You see, his mother was there when the bomb fell on Nagasaki. So, he is the second generation of Nagasaki atomic bomb victims. This has given him a special sensitivity to human rights and humanitarian issues, wherever in the world they may arise. Although just a private citizen, duty demands that he speak out plainly and honestly in the face of unfairness. Here is his open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

What we look for in an Intern
     June 14, 2014:
Frequently, LFNKR receives inquiries from students interested in doing an internship with us. We're excited by all the enthusiasm for North Korean human rights issues that this represents. There are some very specific requirements that we would need from potential candidates. So, here goes. Here are our requirements for overseas interns.

Doing Well in Nursing School
     June 14, 2014:
Miss K. H., one of the North Korean defectors we helped rescue four years ago, just sent us an update on her progress in nursing school. In my first year, the most difficult area has been "anatomical physiology," which is one of the basic subjects. Especially the medical names of bones and such.

7 NK Refugees Waiting for Help
     May 23, 2014:
Currently, we are ready to launch missions that will result in the rescue of a total of seven North Korean defectors (3 families and one woman) now hiding in China. However, due to a depleted rescue budget, we find ourselves unable to implement the first step of this rescue plan.

Baby Sumi Celebrates First Birthday
     May 14 , 2014:
We invite you to share some good news about Baby Sumi. She recently had her first birthday ceremony, an auspicious time that, according to Korean tradition, fortells a child's likely future Baby Sumi was born in Japan about a year ago to parents who had fled from North Korea.

NK Human Rights Abuses Detailed in UN Report
     April 24, 2014:
A United Nations Commission of Inquiry issued a report in February exposing serious human rights abuses in North Korea. Many hours of eye witness testimony were vetted, as well as evidence provided by a number of NGOs with years of experience attempting to help North Koreans fleeing the conditions in that country.

Training for Freedom of Speech in NK
     April 13, 2014:
Freedom of speech has blossomed within a most unusual context in North Korea... on the trains. High government official are welcomed by passengers for their insider's knowledge of current affairs, politics and even gossip. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens are free to give valued opinions and insights into the public's views.

Changed Life - Unchanged Heart
     April 13, 2014:
Fifteen years ago Keiko Kawai and her family of four fled the starvation in North Korea and, through determination and courage, made it to Japan. At first they struggled, but they never wavered from their goal. And now they run a successful pension in Japan. This is their story, translated directly from Keiko's own words.

Kato Addresses International Media Forum
     April 12, 2014:
At the International Media Forum titled "Inside North Korea" Kato Hiroshi of LFNKR spoke on this group's activities to rescue NK refugees. Forty-one participants attended, including representatives of other NGO groups, diplomats and journalists from both Japan and abroad.

Camp 14 - Born in NK Political Prison
     March 15, 2014:
This documentary tells the chilling true story of Shin Dong-hyuk, a child born into captivity who daily endured torture, beatings and danger. It tells of his dramatic escape while just a teenager and how he finally reached safety as a refugee in South Korea.

2013 LFNKR Annual Report Overview 
     December 12, 2013:
During the last fiscal year, stepped-up border security by North Korea halved the flow of refugees, even as the world community gained a growing awareness of NK's human rights abuses. But China appears to have begun listening - a bit - to world opinion regarding their harsh repatriation of NK mothers and the orphaning of their children.

NK Security Clamps Down on Brokers
     November 27, 2013:
In October, North Korea started dispatching special inspection forces from the state security department and the people's army political department to tighten their border security. Special targets are brokers and black market groups helping citizens escape North Korea.

Kato Addresses Meiji University 
     November 22, 2013:
Hiroshi Kato of LFNKR was invited to speak on North Korean human rights issues to Meiji University in Japan. Included here is an outline of the presentation he gave on Nov. 7, 2013. The speech includes specific numbers of refugees fleeing NK over the past 12 years.

UN Accepts LFNKR's Report 
     October 27, 2013:
China recently received its second review at the UN Human Rights Council. LFNKR submitted a report critical of China's human rights abuses. Read our report here.

UN Inquiry Moves Judge to Tears
     October 31, 2013:
A UN Commission of inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea has "moved to tears" the chief of inquiry who is hearing witness testimony. The BBC reports that retired judge Michael Kirby says there have been "gross human rights violations" and that the inquiry has gathered "copious evidence" of rights abuses in North Korea.

UN Commission on NK - Hearings in UK, US
     October 19, 2013:
The UN commission on human rights NK will begin next week a series of public hearings in the UK and US to gather information from witnesses. Read the entire news release from the United Nation giving full details on the inquiry into human rights violations, with testimony from witnesses.

Watch Streaming Videos of UN Inquiry on NK 
     September 19, 2013:
The UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea held hearings in Seoul Korea from August 20th through 24th, then reconvened in Tokyo to hear from further witnesses related to Japanese citizens impacted by North Korea's actions. Streaming video takes you there.

Emergency Aid Project Will Send 10 Tons of Corn Noodles 
     September 10, 2013:
The heaviest rains in 40 years have severely damaged the grain producing areas of North Korea for the third year in a row. With seniors in nursing facilities and children in orphanages being the last to receive any kind of aid, LFNKR is launching a project to help these two groups with 10 tons of emergency food supplies.

LFNKR's Kato Addresses UN Commission 
     September 1, 2013:
On August 29 and 30, an official Commission of Inquiry (COI) public hearing was held at the UN University in Tokyo. Here is the typescript of the speech presented by Mr. Hiroshi Kato, the executive director of Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR).

Former NK Refugee in Nursing School
     August 30, 2013:
In less than 5 years, Miss KH, an ex-refugee from North Korea, has graduated from evening middle school, earned her high school graduation certificate (in less than two years), and passed tough entrance exams for a well-known nursing school. Now, as a nursing student, she is earning high marks.

UN Inquiries Revealing Human Rights Horrors 
     August 25, 2013:
Real results are beginning to flow from the U.N. Commission of Inquiry into North Korea human rights violations, with former victims of that country telling shocking tales of inhumane treatment and crimes against humanity.

New Documentary Features 2 NK Defectors
     August 21, 2013:
"The Defector," a newly released documentary film focuses world attention on the struggle of North Korean defectors as it follows two young women, Sook Ja and Yong Hee, in their escape. Their experiences are common to many women who have defected from that country.

Reader Donations Help Rescue 2 Women
     July 18, 2013:
Update on the 2 North Korean women waiting to reach safety: The generous donations of readers have helped us conduct them to safety, where they are now being prepared for official transfer to South Korea.

Teenager Writes Protesting NK Prison Camps 
     July 7, 2013:
Teenager H.C. (name withheld for security reasons) writes about her discovery, at age 12, of North Korea's infamous concentration camps. She urges greater engagement and involvement in the issue by all who care to help secure the human rights of all North Korean citizens.

Open Letter to Kim Jong-un Urges Explanation 
     July 1, 2013:
Six Japanese NGOs dedicated to the defense of human rights have jointly requested a response from North Korean First Secretary Kim Jong-un, strongly urging him to explain his country's long record of human rights abuses.

Rescues Stalled for Lack of Funds
     June 10, 2013:
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.

Repatriation of 9 Orphans Draws World Attention
     June 8, 2013:
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.

9 Repatriated NK Orphans Face Life or Death
     June 3, 2013:
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.

Pastor Joo Tells What Happened
     June 3, 2013:
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. Once, when I was ill, they stayed with me all night, caring for me.”

Our Statement on the 9 Repatriated Orphans
     June 3, 2013:
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.

Stateless Foster Children in China
     June 1, 2013:
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.

Italian News Media Interview NK Refugee
     May 31, 2013:
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 
     May 13, 2013:
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.

NGOs Send Open Letter to North Korea's New Leader
     May 10, 2013:
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.

UN Commission to Investigate NK Human Rights Crimes
     May 2, 2013:
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 
     April 10, 2013:
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 
     April 2, 2013:
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.)

China Sets Bounty on NK Refugees
     March 31, 2013:
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 
     March 6, 2013:
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 
     February 22, 2013:
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 
     February 22, 2013:
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
     February 5, 2013:
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' 
     January 12, 2013:
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
     December 31, 2012:
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 
     December 19, 2012:
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.

North Korea's Latest Launch Condemned
     December 13, 2012:
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 
     November 29, 2012:
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
     November 14, 2012:
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.

Satellite Photos of NK Prison Camp
     November 1, 2012:
A special report "North Korea's Camp No. 22" was released recently, with photos detailing changes over the past months. These photos refute claims coming out of NK that the infamous political prison camp has been re-purposed to serve exclusively as a farming center.

10,000 Expected to Starve in NK Drought
     August 31, 2012:
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.

South Korean Consulate in Bankok Notified about Orphans
     August 7, 2012:
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
     August 4, 2012:
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
     July 23, 2012:
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
     July 23, 2012:
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
     May 12, 2012:
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
     April 30, 2012:
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
     April 21, 2012:
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
     April 20, 2012:
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
     April 13, 2012:
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
     April 11, 2012:
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
     March 1, 2012:
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.

Petition Begun for Rescuing NK Refugees
     February 21, 2012:
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
     February 20, 2012:
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
     January 29, 2012:
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
     January 29, 2012:
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
     January 27, 2012:
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
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
     January 17, 2012:
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.

North Korean Public Voicing Complaints
     January 5, 2012:
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
     January 10, 2012:
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
     December 29, 2011:
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
     December 25, 2011:
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
     December 25, 2011:
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
     December 23, 2011:
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
     December 22, 2011:
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
     December 22, 2011:
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
     December 21, 2011:
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
     November 20 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
     November 9 2011:
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.

Classes Teach NK Refugees Language, Social Skills
     October 27, 2011:
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.

Korean Food Booth Helps Raise Funds
     October 23, 2011:
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.

International Conference Gets Tough
     Sept 16, 2011:
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.

One LFNKR Aid Center Closed Down
     September 4, 2011:
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.

Rice Thieves Being Shot in NK
     August 30, 2011:
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.

Current Consumer Prices in NK
     August 3, 2011:
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.

Toothbrushes to Tsunami Victims
     July 19, 2011:
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
     July 4, 2011:
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
     July 4, 2011:
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
     June 18, 2011:
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.

Patients Dying from Lack of Basic Surgical Supplies in NK
     June 17, 2011:
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
     June 5, 2011:
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.

Winter Relief for the Starving
     May 26, 2011:
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
     March 29, 2011:
The "Students Rebuild" group, together with 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
     March 17, 2011:
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. The short answer to all your qestions -- yes are safe.

11-Year-Old Former Refugee Plays Chopin
     February 23, 2011:
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
     February 23, 2011:
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
     November 1, 2010:
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
     November 1, 2010:
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
     October 12, 2010:
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
     October 11, 2010:
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
     September 19, 2010:
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
     September 19, 2010:
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
     August 19, 2010:
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
     August 6, 2010:
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.

China Attempts Blackmail of Japan over North Korean Refugees
     August 1, 2010:
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.

2 Foster Children - 2 Success Stories
     July 29, 2010:
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
     July 14, 2010:
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.

Donor Sends Warm, Hand Knitted Clothing
     June 12, 2010:
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
     June 12, 2010:
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.

Crossing Orphan
Survivor of NK Starvation Speaks
     June 12, 2010:
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.

Visit to Bangkok's Immigrant Detention Center
     June 11, 2010:
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.

University in US Recognizes LFNKR Director Noguchi
     June 9, 2010:
Arkansas State University, on Thursday June 3rd, posted a brief article on its Inside ASU website describing the new book by alumnus Takayuki Noguchi entitled Escaping with North Korean Defectors (see item below).

US State Dept. Honors LFNKR's Kato
     April 29, 2010:
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
     April 21, 2010:
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
     April 17, 2010:
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.

LFNKR Dispatches 2 Members to UN Working Group
     December 5, 2009:
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.

Open Letter to Japan's Prime Minister Hatoyama
     November 19, 2009:
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.

Come See an NK Refugee Escape Route in Person
     November 5, 2009:
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.

Medicines for NK Refugees Detained in Thailand
     October 29, 2009:
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.

Former Foster Child Weds - LFNKR Invited
     October 3, 2009:
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'
     July 22, 2009:
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
     July 22, 2009:
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.

China Denies Shadow Children National ID
     July 6, 2009:
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"
     July 6, 2009:
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
     July 6, 2009:
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.

Financial Crunch Also Hits LFNKR
     May 1, 2009:
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
     April 29, 2009:
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
     April 29, 2009:
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
     April 29, 2009:
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
     April 29, 2009:
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.

Seminar on Refugees and Human Rights in Asia
     April 29, 2009:
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.

UN Receives NK Human Rights Review
     April 21, 2009:
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.

Recommendations to Obama Administration
     March 15, 2009:
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.

Rumors - China May Recognize Some NK Refugees
     March 15, 2009:
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.

Former Foster Child Visits Benefactor's Grave in Japan
     March 15, 2009:
In mid-January, Song Hyuk, a former resident in one of LFNKR's foster child shelters, now living in South Korea, finally got to visit the grave site of his foster father and to say "thank you."

Part 2 of Kim Chun Gun's Story
     March 15, 2009:
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
     March 4, 2009:
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 speaks on North Korean refugee issue in Thailand
Kato Addresses Thai University
     February 16, 2009:
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
     February 16, 2009:
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
     January 11, 2009:
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
     November 12, 2008:
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
     November 12, 2008:
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
     November 12, 2008:
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
     November 12, 2008:
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
     November 12, 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.

Suzanne Scholte Wins Seoul Peace Prize

American Peace Worker Honored in Seoul
     October 1, 2008:
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
     September 29, 2008:
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
     September 25, 2008:
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 tireless work.

NK Spy a Modern-Day 'Mata Hari'
     September 5, 2008:
A 34-year-old 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.

Movie 'Crossing' Wins High Praise
     September 5, 2008:
This 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 Border Situation
     September 4, 2008:
While 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
     September 4, 2008:
The daughter 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
     June 19, 2008:
LFNKR 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
     June 19, 2008:
Happy endings really are possible. Last month, a baby girl, named Soe-hee, 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
     June 14, 2008:
Read 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 program.

NK Refugees Tell of Stricter Border Security
     June 14, 2008:
An 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 allow passage.

Bicycling Campaign Across Europe for NK Rights
     June 9, 2008:
LFNKR is joining the bicycling campaign hosted by the organization " Justice for North Korea." The campaign will publicize in Europe 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
     June 6, 2008:
Kato 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.

U.S. Senator Nixes Ambassador Nominee over NK Human Rights
     May 1, 2008:
U.S. 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.

LFNKR Attends Olympic Torch Relay Protest
     April 28, 2008:
LFNKR members 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

Join the North Korean Freedom Week Events
     April 26, 2008:
North Korean Freedom Week is spreading and growing all around the world. Many new events this year - be sure to check the schedule for activities.

China Raises Bounty on NK Refugees 1600%
     April 10, 2008:
Stories 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.

NK Eyewitnesses Describe Winter Nightmare
     March 26, 2008:
North 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 because of scarce money. Another suggested that survival without stealing is increasingly difficult.

China Hunting Down Refugees, Aid Workers Ahead of Olympics
     March 26 2008:
Police 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.

Report on Foster Parent Programme
     March 25, 2008:
LFNKR 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.

Letter to China's Hu on Behalf of 4 NK Prisoners
     March 21, 2008:
You can send a letter like this one to President Hu of China requesting protection of 4 NK prisoners about to be repatriated. Several recent public executions 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
     January 12, 2008:
A 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 nations.

YouTube Video of Washington DC Protest
     December 29, 2007:
Watch 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.

Hurry-Up Trial in China for NK Activist
     November 24, 2007:
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.

Demonstrations Planned to Save North Korean Refugees
     November 20, 2007:
A protest, 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.

Sample Letter of Protest
     November 20, 2007:
If you 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.

Human Trafficking Victim -- Lee Sun Ja
     November 19, 2007:
"When 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.

Human Trafficking Victim -- Choi Chong-mi
     November 19, 2007:
Young, pregnant, frightened and nearly starving, Chong-mi met a man who helped North Korean women escape to China where there would be work and plenty of food. Once in China, however, this humanitarian sold her for 3,000 RMB.

New Action Plan for Coming Fiscal Year
     November 1, 2007:
A new 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
     October 27, 2007:
A young 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 handicapped man.

Two Former NK Orphans Now Happily Wed
     October 27, 2007:
Some 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 facility. There, she met her future husband. We were delighted last month when they announced their marriage.

Report on LFNKR Activities in FY 2006
     October 27, 2007:
A few 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.

Photos of Bangkok Conference on NK Refugees
     October 2, 2007:
Over 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.

Appeal to National Human Rights Commission of Thailand
     October 2, 2007:
Attendees 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
     October 2, 2007:
Human 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.

LFNKR's Kato Speaks on Human Trafficing of NK Women
     October 2, 2007:
This 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.

US Deputy Special Envoy Addresses Bangkok Conference
     October 2, 2007:
US 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
     October 1, 2007:
Shin 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.

Int'l Group Censures China for NK Refugee Treatment
     September 13, 2007:
The 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 vast strides...."

US Lawmakers Call to Boycott Beijing Olympics
     September 13, 2007:
Eight 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.

Save North Korean Refugee Flooding Victims
     August 24, 2007:
Floods 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 as those in 1997.

NK Defector Couple Face Death... or Life
     August 15, 2007:
A 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 staff members went to Yanbian Prefecture, in China recently to interview the couple....

Japan Needs Refugee Settlement Program ASAP
     August 15, 2007:
Japan 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 Korean refugees.

Outline of North Korean Human Rights Act
     August 15, 2007:
Presents 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.

International Conference on North Korean Human Rights
     August 9, 2007:
Representatives from several nations will meet in Thailand on September 17-21, 2007 to discuss human rights issues for North Korean defectors and refugees.

IPCNKR 4th Annual Conference to Be Held in Seoul
     August 3, 2007:
The 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
     June 19, 2007:
Kim 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
     June 19, 2007:
He 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 re-enter North Korea, start a small business and support his grandmother. Read our man's interview with this "kotchebi."

3 NK Orphans Headed for Orientation Classes
     May 11, 2007:
The children 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
     April 27, 2007:
Before 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.

International Protest Slated for April 28, 2007
     April 27, 2007:
To escape 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 28th.

Report from a Refugee Who Made It Back
     April 27, 2007:
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
     April 27, 2007:
An LFNKR 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
     April 24, 2007:
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 to North Korea.

North Korea Freedom Week Slated for US Capital this April
     April 19, 2007:
Government leaders, activists, NGOs and many individuals will be in Washington DC the week of April 22 - 27, 2007 for this year's North Korea Freedom Week. Programs will all be focused on the human rights situation in North Korea.

CNN Looks Inside a North Korean Escape Route
     April 19, 2007:
In exclusive footage aired April 15th, CNN's Dan Rivers gives viewers a look inside an 'underground railroad' used by North Koreans hoping to escape to South Korea.

3 NK Orphans' Letters Released to News Media
     April 14, 2007:
LFNKR held 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
     March 27, 2007:
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 English course.

Abandoned Children in China
     March 26, 2007:
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 in trying to survive on their own.

International Fact-finding Mission to Thailand
     March 15, 2007:
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.

LFNKR Expands its NK Food Supply Network
     February 15, 2007:
Emergency supplies that were recently distributed to needy North Koreans included one ton of rice, clothing and 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
     February 14, 2007:
At the Festival, LFNKR displayed items from everyday life in North Korea. Staff members were surprised by the amount of interest that visitors expressed in the near-crumbling school textbooks. The books attracted consistently large crowds (click link above for photos).

Photos from International Symposium in Tokyo
     December 20, 2006:
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.

Choi Yong-hun Home from Chinese Prison
     December 3, 2006:
Photos of the return of Choi Yong-hun, the imprisioned South Korean humanitarian aid worker.

International Protest Day - Sample Letter
     November 30, 2006:
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
     November 29, 2006:
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.

International Symposium on North Korean Human Rights
     November 21, 2006:
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 and work on solutions to issues connected with North Korean human rights violations.

Chinese Border Guards Videotaped Shooting Religious Pilgrims
     October 25, 2006:
Video scenes on the Internet show Chinese border guards shooting Tibetan pilgrims in 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.

Open Letter to Ban Ki-moon
     October 20, 2006:
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 by China.

Family of Jailed Humanitarian Worker Struggling
     October 16, 2006:
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 humanitarian worker.

Home Medical Kits for NK Refugees
     October 13, 2006:
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 illness.

LFNKR Action Plan for FY 2006-2007
     October 11, 2006:
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.

New - Search This Website
     October 4, 2006:
Now you can search for the specific information you need at this website (notice the new search form near the top left of every page). This 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 Korean refugee issues.

LFNKR Activity Report - FY 2005-2006
     October 2, 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 and symposia....

Joint Appeal Sent to UNHCR on 7 in Thailand
     September 20, 2006:
Today an appeal was sent directly to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on behalf of the 7 NK refugees now being held in Thailand...

7 NK Refugees Turn to Thai Police
     September 18, 2006:
ven women who fled North Korea and made their way to Thailand have submitted an appeal for protection to Thai police.

Joint Appeal to Thailand
This 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 country...

175 NK Refugees in Thai Custody
The 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...

Summer Clothes Are Survival Gear
The 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 in.

Wife Reports on Imprisoned NK Refugee Aid Worker
Even 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...

4 NGO Members Named in NK Arrest Warrants
Japanese 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.

No Mercy, No Justice for NK Mothers and Children?
Six 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.

Third Annual NK Freedom Week in Washington DC
The 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 country's communist regime.

Interview with NK Border Shelter Staff Members
Recently 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 about human trafficing - the buying and selling of women and babies in the region - and starvation conditions in North Korea.

World to Pray for North Korea
Christian 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

North Korea Calls Japanese NGOs Kidnappers
The people of Japan were amazed February 7 when television and newspapers announced that North Korea had accused Kato Hiroshi and 6 other Japanese NGO members of abducting North Korea citizens.

Border Report - January 2006
Female 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 abandoned...



Life Funds for North Korean Refugees
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
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