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North Korean Prison Camps

HC Final Project
by

Nicholas Johnson

on 7 January 2013

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Transcript of North Korean Prison Camps

By Nick J. The North Korean Prison Camps Introduction Bibliography North Korea is a highly militaristic country, much unlike their Southern Counterpart. The North Koreans have no tolerance for traitors and those who they believe to be a "threat" to their country and their "Dear Leader". Even people who are relatives of "criminals" will be punished. During the Korean War, many North Koreans defected and escaped to South Korea. What happened to their relatives and their descendents? They were thrown into prison camps, where they were only greeted by death, where survival is accomplished through backstabbing others. These are the Korean prison camps. People who worked at the camps were there because either:

a) They had done something against the North Korean government;

b) One of their relatives had done something against the North Korean government; or

c) They were born there.

But just how did these prisoner camps work?

The prison camps mainly keep families locked inside their borders for many generations. For every new generation, they tell them that they were born with the "sins of their parents" and that the only path to redemption was through hard work. Of course, the conditions of the camp are quite horrid. The rules are strict, with every penalty resulting in death. Adding that onto the low nutrient diet (consisting of a corn-based gruel, with no meat or vegetables) served to every prisoner and the harsh treatment (constant beatings and insults) from the guards results in a high mortality rate. Escape was unheard of. The camps were heavily guarded, and anyone who tried would be shot immediately. Anyone who was suspected of helping (usually family members) would also be shot. Survival was only accomplished through labor. The Prison Camps North Korean people who are in these prison camps are denied of their basic human rights. They are given tiny amounts of low nutrient foods and are forced to scavenge for food that we people in Canada would consider untouchable. Even then, those found scourging for food were punished. Prisoners who spoke their mind would usually be shot.

Even at this minute, there are hundreds of thousands of people who are suffering in these camps. These people are worked hours on end, being severely punished through beatings whenever the slightest mistake is made or if the daily quota for work is not achieved. Why is this related to human rights? Currently, people around the world are trying to raise awareness about these camps. Shin, who has experienced the horrors of the camp first hand, has become a human rights activist and has begun to raise awareness about these camps by making public speeches and presentations. Many organizations around the world have started donations and are accepting money for North Korean escapees to give escapees shelter and supply them with pensions for food. Some people have even started smuggling North Korean citizens out of their country to prevent them from going to the camps and suffering. How is the world responding to this? Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden (Book)

Camp 14 - Total Control Zone by Marc Wiese (Movie)

http://www.cbsnews.com/8334-504803_162-57556660-10391709/north-korean-prison-escapee-describes-a-life-of-hunger/

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/30/living/escape-camp-14-book-story/index.html

http://freekorea.us/camps/14-18/ The Prison Camps, Con't. Shin In Guen's family was put in a prison camp because Shin's uncle had defected from North Korea during the Korean war. Shin was born in a camp and one of three people who have escaped a Korean prison camp. His family was placed in Camp 14, the most notorious camp out of the many prison camps in North Korea. Shin lived on poor food and ended up having to scavenge for food, such as rats, frogs, and even kernels of corm in cow dung to survive. At school (inside the camp), students are not taught anything about the outside world and are taught very little vocabulary and writing.

Students are also given harsh punishments too. Shin remembers a student who was beaten to death with a chalkboard pointer just because she was caught with a few kernels of corn in her pocket. Events such as this were common in the camp, with fatal punishments.

Public executions were held frequently. Death is a common occurrence in the camps. Possible Solutions 1. Declaring war on North Korea to destroy the camps is completely out of question. They're supported by China, a world superpower. I don't think anyone is interested to risk starting World War III this way.

2. Negotiating with them wouldn't work either, because the North Korean government could easily create more prison camps, this time hidden from satellite cameras.

3. Cutting all trade from North Korea would just cause the citizens to suffer more, and the conditions of the prisoners to worsen. North Korea may also threaten to invade South Korea, which would have to be resolved quickly before any conflict occurs. Human Rights, Con't. These prisoners are always hungry, forced to back stab others and scavenge through garbage and dung for more food. They are taught virtually nothing except to love their leader, Kim Jong-Eun and his father Kim Jong-Il. They are forced to toil in a man-made hell where they are either worked to death or executed.

And the people who the prisoners are told to love are living in luxury, seemingly unaware to the horrors held in these camps. Even if they did know, they still carried on, uncaring. Something has to be done about these camps. Possible Solutions, Con't. Currently, I think that the best solution so far is to just keep raising awareness and continuing to put on pressure on the North Korean government about the prison camps. Although it may not be a quick solution, it is currently the best one we have. The Ten Rules of Camp 14 These are the rules that were taught to Shin at his school. He was forced to learn and recite these by memory:

1. Do not try to escape.
2. No more than two prisoners can meet together.
3. Do not steal.
4. Guards must be obeyed unconditionally.
5. Anyone who sees a fugitive or suspicious figure must promptly report him.
6. Prisoners must watch one another and report any suspicious behavior immediately.
7. Prisoners must more than fulfill the work assigned them each day.
8. Beyond the workplace, there will be no intermingling between the sexes for personal reasons.
9. Prisoners must genuinely repent of their errors.
10. Prisoners who violate the laws and regulations of the camp will be shot immediately.
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