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'Sold Like Livestock' -- North Korea Freedom Week Spotlights Horrendous Human Rights Abuses by North Korea

Rallies, Hearings Scheduled April 26-May 2 in Washington, D.C.

Contact: Jerry Dykstra, Media Relations Director, Open Doors USA, 616-915-4117, jerryd@odusa.org 

WASHINGTON, April 23 /Christian Newswire/ -- While North Korea thumbs its nose at the world by reportedly resuming its nuclear program, launching satellite rockets and detaining two U.S. journalists, millions are suffering famine, imprisonment, torture and even death inside the hermit country.

Bang Mu Sun, a North Korean female defector who was sold three times in the sex-trafficking ring that flourishes on the Chinese-North Korea border, says North Korean women are called "pigs." She says: "I was sold like livestock three times. I realized that there was a world where human beings were bought and sold and that people could show such cruelty and shamelessness.

"If someone does not wipe their tears, heal their wounds and help them regain their human dignity, female refugees will continue to be sold like pigs in China. They will never know life's happiness."

Seoul Peace Prize Laureate Suzanne Scholte, who has been organizing North Korea Freedom Week since 2004, states: "North Korea is the worst human rights tragedy in the world today. While there are many tragic situations and terrible atrocities occurring in the world, the North Korean people are the most isolated, the most persecuted and the most suffering." 

North Korea remains the No. 1 persecutor of Christians in the world, according to Open Doors' World Watch List released in February. The communist country is the worst offender of religious rights for the seventh year in a row. Last month North Korea was re-designated by the U.S. State Department as one of eight "Countries of Particular Concern" for its severe religious freedom violations.  

North Korea Freedom Week, sponsored by the 65 members of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, is devoted to raising awareness of the plight of North Koreans and the massive human rights and religious rights abuses by the government. Through a series of events -- including rallies, lobbying lawmakers, Congressional hearings and a prayer vigil -- organizers want to alert the public of North Korea's critical needs and draw attention to Kim Jong Il's criminal activities which perpetuate the problems in North Korea. This will be the largest-ever U.S. gathering of North Korean defectors and rights activists.

Included in the events, focused in Washington, D.C. are:

  • Tuesday, April 28, Noon -- Capitol Hill Rally for North Korea Freedom and Human Rights (west front of the U.S. Capitol). Among the speakers will be Sen. Sam Brownback, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Ed Royce.
     
  • Thursday, April 30, 10 a.m. -- Congressional briefing on the Humanitarian Situation and What Can Be Done to Help the North Korean People (location to be announced).
     
  • Saturday, May 2, Noon -- Protest against China's violent treatment of North Korean refugees. It will be held at the Chinese embassy, 3505 International Place.

For more information, including a schedule of events, go to www.nkfreedom.org or www.OpenDoorsUSA.org. Interviews can be set up with North Korea Freedom Coalition Chairwoman Suzanne Scholte or Open Doors USA Advocacy Program Manager Lindsay Vessey. Over 30 visiting North Korean defectors will be available to interview at the Capitol Hill rally and Chinese embassy protest events. Included in the delegation are three survivors of the infamous Yodok political prison. Please contact Open Doors USA Media Relations Director Jerry Dykstra at jerryd@odusa.org or call 616-915-4117.