July 16, 2003

On July 16, before giving out the Democracy Award, the NED hosted a day-long conference titled: Gulag, Famine, and Refugees: The Urgent Human Rights Crisis in North Korea.

The Conference was followed by a presentation of the NED’s Annual Democracy Award to four Koreans, three of whom escaped from North Korea and are survivors of its gulag, who are all working to focus world attention on the human rights crisis in North Korea, expose its abhorrent prison-labor system, and assist North Korean refugees who have fled persecution and starvation.  The honorees were An Hyuk, Kang Cheol-hwanSoon Ok Lee and Benjamin Yoon.

The Conference consisted of an Inter-Parliamentary Roundtable Discussion on policy recommendations for managing the North Korean refugee crisis.  The participants were:

  • Chair: U.S. Representative Ed Royce
  • U.S. Representative Joseph R. Pitts
  • U.S. Representative Curt Weldon
  • U.S. Representative Eliot Engel
  • Assemblyman Woongy Kyu Cho
  • Assemblyman Hwang Woo Yea
  • Masaharu Nakagawa
  • Baroness Caroline Cox

The Conference also included three panels focusing on the refugee crisis and the gulag system in North Korea.  Testimony was given by three of the award winners and gulag survivors (An HyukKang Cheol-hwanSoon Ok Lee) as well as:

  • Benjamin Yoon, Founder of the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights
  • David Hawk, Researcher, U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea

Other speakers included:

  • Introductions by Richard V. Allen, Vice-Chairman, US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea
  • U.S. Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
  • Andrew Natsios, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Robert Pépin and Pierre Rigoulot, French Committee to Help the Population of North Korea
  • Emmanuel Kampouris
  • Carl Gershman, President, NED
  • Suzanne Scholte, President, Defense Forum Foundation
  • Debra Liang-Fenton, Executive Director, U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea
  • Jack Rendler, Vice Chairman, U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea
  • Anne Applebaum, Editorial Board, The Washington Post, and author of Gulag: A History
  • Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick