UPDATE: Radio Free Asia reports that Belgium has accepted six North Korean refugees. While that may not sound like a lot, it is exactly six more North Korean refugees than the US has accepted. That is shameful. I hope Jay Lefkowitz was right when he said the US would accept up to 200 North Korean refugees this year.
ORIGINAL POST: A major conference on human rights in North Korea is underway in Brussels, Belgium with an international cast (Chosun Ilbo):
The European Union capital Brussels will see a major conference on human rights in North Korea starting Wednesday, coinciding with the testimony of defectors from the Stalinist country before the European Parliament. The conference is the third in recent months after events in Washington last July and in Seoul in December.
The conference brings together a range of activist groups and NGOs. It is co-hosted by Human Rights without Frontiers of Belgium, Christian Solidarity Worldwide of the U.K., the French Committee to Help the Population of North Korea, and Freedom House of the U.S. The parliamentary hearing was organized by Hungarian MEP Istvan Szent-Ivany. (emphasis is mine)
Of course, Korea will be well represented:
From South Korea, the conference will be attended by Yoo Se-hee of Citizens United for a Better Society, Shin Ji-ho of Liberty Union and Han Ki-hong of Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights. They have vowed to inform Europeans of human rights abuses in the North, focusing on the forced repatriation of North Korean refugees, concentration camps for political dissidents, public executions and other brutality.
North Korean defectors will also testify at the conference, while NGOs and activists will propose ways of improving conditions in the North. Panel discussions will focus on the plight of refugees and problems with international humanitarian aid to North. The conference in Seoul last year resolved to draw attention to North Korean abuses on Human Rights Day (Dec. 20) every year, and the “Seoul Declaration” called for an international network to address North Korean human rights issues.
The Korea Liberator has blogging coverage of two previous NK human rights conferences in Washington and Seoul. I will try to find someone who is blogging this conference.