ABOUT THE EVENT
It has been 15 years since the Endowment first highlighted the important cause of North Korean human rights with its 2003 Democracy Award. Since then, the Endowment has witnessed and supported the tremendous growth of many outstanding and innovative groups whose work to end the isolation and suffering of the North Korean people has led to dramatic change both inside and outside North Korea. The organizations honored this year for their work to empower defectors, document and advocate for human rights, and ensure the free flow of information in and out of North Korea are representative of a larger civil society movement that has greatly increased international understanding of life inside North Korea and opened a window to the outside world for those who remain inside.
The National Endowment for Democracy’s 2018 Democracy Award honored the civil society movement for human rights and democracy in North Korea by recognizing the work of these four outstanding organizations.
ABOUT THE Honorees
The Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights (NKHR) is the world’s first and oldest NGO devoted fully to the advancement of North Korean human rights. Founded in Seoul in 1996, NKHR has spread international awareness on human rights issues in North Korea by organizing conferences, concerts, and art exhibitions, and by establishing a network of NGOs to influence government policymakers and the UN. NKHR also runs education and resettlement programs for North Korean youth in South Korea. Accepting the award on behalf of the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights are Bum-Jin Park and Sungju Lee.
Since 2010, Now Action & Unity for Human Rights (NAUH) has been working to improve human rights conditions in North Korea and achieve a unified Korean Peninsula. NAUH has spearheaded awareness campaigns on North Korea’s human rights conditions, organized campaigns calling for unification, hosted cultural exchanges between South and North Korean young adults, participated in radio broadcasts that relay news of freedom for North Korea, and helped rescue operations of North Korean refugees. Accepting the award on behalf of Now Action & Unity for Human Rights are Seong-ho Ji and Shi-woo Choi.
The Seoul-based non-profit Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG) was founded in September 2014 to collect, document and visualize evidence of crimes against humanity in North Korea to support the ongoing effort to hold perpetrators accountable, and to bring victims’ needs and rights to mainstream awareness. Additionally, TJWG works on capacity building projects for Korean civil society. Accepting the award on behalf of Transitional Justice Working Group are Hubert Younghwan Lee and Sehyek Oh.
Unification Media Group (UMG) is an independent multimedia consortium based in Seoul, comprising Daily NK, an internet periodical reporting on all aspects of NorthKorea; Radio Free Chosun, which broadcasts content targeting North Korean citizens; and Open North Korea Radio. UMG aims to provide residents of North Korea with credible, timely news and information, while reporting to the international community uncensored news from within the country. Accepting the award on behalf of Unification Media Group are Kwang Baek Lee and Sang Yong Lee.