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Transcriber: Glocal Media Limited

Length: 102 mins 24 secs

Word length: 7,431

M: Commissioner
M1: Commissioner
S: Reverend Stuart Windsor


M: [0.00] …of Christian Solidarity worldwide, and I apologise that you've been kept for a long time, but I think you've been sitting for a very long time and you've seen the proceedings and the way in which it sometimes has taken quite a period to get the testimony. We would hope that in your case it will not be too long because we only have this room for an hour and then the room and the building will be locked. And whilst I'm sure we could continue discussing the matter all night, I think maybe you have other obligations and so do we.

[00:49] So Mr Windsor would you tell us something about Christian Solidarity Worldwide and your own background and denomination of Christian religion. Then we'll ask you some questions in relation to the position of religion in North Korea.

S: [01:10] Thank you so much commissioners. I'm very glad to be here, thank you for your time.

M: [01:17] I should have started perhaps by saying as I have to all other witnesses, are you prepared to make a solemn declaration to us that the evidence you will give will be the truth?

S: [01:27] Yes I am. Christian Solidarity Worldwide is a Christian advocacy organisation. We're working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights in pursuit of justice. We're not an aid organisation, we do not (postlertise). Our remit is trying to be a voice for voiceless people and we work in 26 countries of the world where there are religious freedom issues. We believe in freedom of religion and belief for all. We stand firmly for all people of faiths and those that have none.

[02:05] Not only advocating for Christians but for Muslims, Hindus, Bahais, Buddhists, Imadis, atheists and others. Our work…

M: [02:15] Is the organisation connected with a known familiar denomination? I assume it’s a Protestant Christian organisation would that be?

S: [02:26] No, we're inter-denominational commissioner. So we work with all members of Christian denominations and wider than that.

M: [02:37] The Roman Catholic and orthodox religions participate in Christian Solidarity Worldwide?

S: [02:44] They certainly do. I myself am an honorary Armenian. When the war was on in the (02.51) I went down with 1,000 tonnes of aid with Baroness Cox. So it’s a great delight to represent all shades of the Christian faith, but we stand for others as well too.

M: [03:02] Yes. And the Anglican church is?

S: [03:02] Absolutely. We have bishops, we have Anglican bishops, Catholic bishops on our board. As well as other church leaders and business leaders and we try and represent all.

M: [03:14] Thank you very much for clarifying that. I think you have a presentation that you want to give to us and you think that in presenting it in that way it will shorten time.

S: [03:26] It will indeed. I shall be as brief as I can and I shall cut some things out.

M: [03:33] If you have any documents you want to leave with us, I will mark them as exhibits and they will become part of the record of the Commission of Inquiry.

S: [03:40] Yes we have. We have our major report which we launched in 2007 on North Korea. You will have a copy, together with our latest report, our UPR on North Korea which we gave earlier this year at the UN. And we were part of the setting up of this commission in terms of being in the group of NGOs…

M: [04:00] You are going to tender that document?

S: [04:02] Yes.

M: [04:04] Do you need to have it with you now or can I…? It would be good if we could have at least three or possibly four copies, one each for the commissioners and one for the secretariat. I will mark that document, it's a report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, entitled North Korea - A Case to Answer, A Call to Act. And it bears the date 2007. That will be marked as exhibit L4. Thank you very much. You proceed to make - and we will hold our questions until the conclusion.

S: [04:50] I will be as brief as possible. This report was launched in 2007 with the help of Redress. It's a report that took us seven years to produce. We interviewed 80 North Korean's in 10 countries over three continents and we launched the report in 2007 in June. It's a very comprehensive report on North Korea and all the evidence we gathered is really relevant to this commission and I'm so glad to be able to bring it to you for you to mark it. The report finds the following.

[05:33] The crimes against humanity have continued to be committed in North Korea, they are murder, extermination, enslavement, forced labour, forcible transfer, imprisonment or other severe depravation of physical liberty, torture, persecution, and enforced disappearance of persons. In addition, the report also finds that there are indicators of genocide against religious groups specifically Christians, implemented particularly in the 1950s and 60s. the scale of the abuses creates an urgent compelling need to protect North Korean population from international crimes and prevent the further violations.

[06:21] We have marked out the report for you. The report that I'm going to highlight now covers three headings. The ideological context for repression, which is found on pages 19 and 20 of our report. Persecution, pages 52 to 54 and genocide, 61 to 67. I will not go through the first content, but I will go straight through to the section dealing with religious persecution, which is Section 8 in our report.

M: [06:58] What page is that?

S: [07:01] That's page 52 to 54 commissioner.

M: [07:04] This is on exhibit L4?

S: [07:09] Yes. The crimes against humanity of persecution occurs where the perpetrator severely deprives one or more persons of fundamental rights contrary to international law and targets such person or persons by reason of the identity of group or collectively or targets the group or collectively as such based on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural religious gender. Religious gender or other grounds that are universally recognised as impermissible under international law.

[07:43] This conduct must be committed or the conduct must be committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against the civilian population and the perpetrator must know or intend the conduct to be a part of such an attack. The crime against humanity of persecution was already recognised in the Statute of Nuremburg tribunal and has since been contained in the statutes of the main international tribunals elaborated upon by the International Criminal Trial Yugoslavia, and the International Criminal Trial for Rwanda.

[08:19] This is what Kim Woo Jong, a North Korean escapee said. Christianity is public enemy number one in North Korea. If someone is Christian in North Korea, they are a political enemy and would be either executed or sent away to a political prison camp. If they are sent there, even their family will not know where they are. I saw the execution of three Christian men aged 19, 24 and 32 in Musan in June 1998. An announcement was made that three men had gone to China and become Christians and were to be executed.

[08:56] People were invited and forced to attend and witness the executions. Each man was blindfolded, they were fully clothed so their injuries could not be completely identified, but none of them could walk on their own. They were dragged out, tied to poles and shot. Normally they would be each shot with three bullets but this time six were used. This was because they had betrayed the regime. Political persecution has been intense as I've just detailed. Likewise religious repression has also been brutal, virtually eliminating the followers of (9.38) which is a mixture of Buddhism and Confucianism. Buddhism and Protestant and Catholic Christianity. That made up a sizeable proportion of the population when Kim Il Sung came to power.

[09:54] Persecution of Christians has been particularly harsh, with serial abuses committed against them and multiple executions and transfers to political prison camps. Persecution was especially intense in the initial stages of the regime as it consolidated power in the 1950s and 1960s. Reports describe Christians being killed in brutal ways, such as being hung on a cross over fire, crushed under a steamroller or herded off bridges.

[10:22] According to the policy of eliminating the seed of class enemies to three generations family members including children have also been targeted an incarcerated in political prison camps where reproduction is forbidden. Whilst religious persecution wiped out virtually all religious believers and their family line, very harsh persecution of religious believers continues to occur even today. Defectors systematically report that any Christians discovered will be sent to political prison camps or executed.

[10:58] Consistent accounts describe how, when religious activities have been discovered by the authorities and their locality the offenders disappeared followed subsequently by their family members. Christians seeking to share their faith have been converted in China or found in possession of a bible from overseas are in particular danger. A number of direct eye witness accounts exist of the recent execution of Christians and these are footnoted in our report.

[11:30] There is also evidence that families of religious believers are held in political prison camps. A number of testimonies describe how Christians are particularly harshly treated in the camps, both because the guards target them and because other prisoner demean and ostracise them. Treating them as deranged because of their faith, Several accounts describe believers in the prison system refuse to recount their faith being publically trampled on the foot by guards and then coerced by prisoners until they died.

[12:01] Other extremely brutal accounts of the killing of Christians in the prison system have also been given. There are extensive accounts of rescuing those who flee to China, where they encounter an embraced Christianity. Attorneys consistently report that they are interrogated about two key questions sometimes three. Whether they encounter Christians, whether they met South Koreans and do they have a bible. The common understanding is that a positive response to either of these questions will lead to severe penalties. Namely, being sent to a lifelong political prison camp or being executed. (Kim Bong Sun) said this, he's an escaper. If defectors were found to have contact with South Koreans or Christians, they will be treated differently, they could forget about being released from prison.

[12:55] North Korea has deprived groups belonging to those labelled as political prisoners, religious groups and to some degree repatriated persons of a range of their fundamental rights. Acts of murder, torture, forced labour, inhuman treatment, disappearances and arbitrary imprisonment as described above violate the right to life, the right to be free from torture, the right to a fair trial as well as most civil and political and other rights.

[13:24] In the jurors prudence of the International Criminal Trial in Yugoslavia on prison camps in Bosnia, the following acts relevant in the North Korea context were found to constitute persecution when committed with a requisite discriminary intent, imprisonment and lawful detention of civilians or infringement upon an individual freedom, murder, forcible transfer and the seizure and collection, segregation and forced transfer of civilians to camps.

[13:58] Persons belonging to the groups mentioned above were targeted for reasons contrary to international standards. Discrimination not only rates to recognise rights, but also extends to discrimination in law or in fact any field regulated and protected by public authorities. It clearly encompasses the practice of depravation of the fundamental rights of the groups we've just described. This depravation has been severe because it has removed members of these groups from any recognition of their rights and protection of the law and is based on outright discrimination based on political orientation, religious beliefs or dissent.

M: [14:38] Is the document you're reading…

M1: [14:40] Yes, it's part of this, yes.

M: [14:41] Part of exhibit L4?

M1: [14:41] Yes it is.

M: [14:47] What page is it on?

M1: [14:45] It's between 52 and 54.

M: [14:48] Yes I've been trying to pick it up but do go on.

M1: [14.54] This denial of fundamental rights has been large scale and based on a policy according to which political enemies of the regime classed as hostile had adherence of religious beliefs should be repressed. Mental element related to this available evidence indicates that those involved in the system know the circumstances constituting persecution and they mean to engage in the conduct of severely depriving one or more persons of fundamental rights in contravention of international law. Being at least aware that their conduct will result in such depravation in the ordinary course of events.

[15:37] I'd like to draw attention to one story that I have personally from (Li Soon Ok or Soon Ok Li) who was a political prisoner. When she went to - and she was imprisoned in one prison, she noticed that there were a group of prisoners within the prison, females that were different to everyone else. She said they acted differently when there was a mistake in the prison these people stood in immediately and took the blame for an accident. And she found out that they were Christian believers.

[16:13] And on one particular day, six of these women were called in front of all the prisoners and ordered to recant on their Christianity. They were asked to kneel down and they were asked to either recant on their Christianity or be killed. And she said what followed then was this. They refused to say anything and liquid metal, liquid iron was poured on them and they were killed in front of her eyes. That for her was obviously a very moving moment and made her ask why this had happened. So there are evidences of testimony in our report.

[17:01] Then finally I go to genocide, which our report does give indicators.

M: [17:08] Where is that - that’s still on page 51?

M1: [17:12] Agree. Genocide is recognised as an international crime in the convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide of 1948, the Genocide Convention. The statutes of the International Criminal Court, ICC, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and under customary international law. Article 2 of the Convention which you will know well, which contains the commonly accepted definition of genocide provides in the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national ethnical, racial, or religious group as such - (a) killing members of the group, (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, (d) imposing measures intended to prevent birth within the group and (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

[18:27] The forms of attack and the protected groups listed form the objective aspect of the crime of genocide. The crime of genocide is difficult to prove as its subjective element requires specific intent (18.42) to destroy in whole or in part, a protected group as such. There is no need to prove an explicit expression of intent which can be inferred from either words or deeds, in particular from presumptions of facts such as the scale and systematic nature of attacks indicating of - of the acts indicating intent.

[19:03] The perpetrator has intent to destroy a group where he seeks to destroy a distinct part of the group. This includes the destruction of part of the group, located in a geographically limited area or selecting a more limited number of persons for the impact that their disappearance would have on the survival of the group as such. It therefore appears that it is sufficient if the perpetrator targets a small number of persons in the belief that he or she is attacking the group as such if all the other elements are present. Considering consideration of the application of genocide, political prisons.

[19:45] The system of political repression and prison conditions and the practice of targeting political prisoners fulfils most of the material elements of genocide, and specific acts including killing members of the group, are causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group being carried out. Political groups have been excluded from the list to protected groups under the Genocide Convention. A more expansive reading of genocides that includes stable and permanent groups defined by birth could encompass relatives of political enemies, but is a (20.22) would subscribe to such a view as the listed of protected groups is an exhaustive one and not really intended to be illustrative.

[20:32] Repeated calls to include political groups and the genocide definition have gone unheeded in the face of continuing objection by states. Acts committed against prisoners and others because they belong to a group classified as political enemies, cannot be prosecuted as genocide but may constitute crimes against humanity including the crime against humanity of persecution. I am not going to read out the forced abortion and killing of infants of women repatriated from China. You probably have taken testimony already on that, but that's in our report.

[21:07] I want to go to religious believers and groups. As described already, religious persecution in North Korea is extremely harsh and religious activity seems to be inconsistent with the obligatory adherence to the personal cult of the political leadership. Religious groups are recognised as one of the four specific groups that are protected by the Genocide Convention. As religious believers have been executed, sent to political prison camps they cannot leave and where reproduction is prohibited and targeted in other ways as described above.

[21:44] Evidence indicates that most or all of the acts specified in the Genocide Convention have been carried out against religious believers in North Korea. The most difficult element to prove the crime of genocide in relation to religious groups in North Korea's specific intent. As this is a complex issue, some detail is given below in presenting available evidence to indicate whether or not genocidal intent is present. I give you what Kim Il Sung said and is reported to have said in documents that are not public but nevertheless have been noted by people looking at North Korea, human rights activists that have looked at North Korea.

M: [22:32] Are these the statements on page 63?

M1: [22:34] Yes absolutely. Through court trials, this is what he said - is reported to have said. Through court trials we have executed all Protestant and Catholic church carder members and sentenced all other vicious religious elements to heavy punishment. The repentants have been given work but non-repentants have been sent to concentration camps. We, that is Kim Il Sung said, we cannot carry such religious liberty, religiously active people along our march toward a common society. Therefore we tried and executed all religious leaders higher than deacon in the Protestant and Catholic churches.

[23:19] Among other religiously activity people, those deemed malignant were all put to trial. Among ordinary religious believers, those who recanted were given jobs, while those who did not were held at concentration camps. Therefore in 1958 we completely and thoroughly apprehended the group of people and had them executed. That is how we found that the only way to fix the bad habit of these religious believers is for them to be killed. The guidelines for dealing with religious believers are clearly set out in our party's Public Security Policy. You lead only to follow it. Silly old religionists need to die in order for their bad habits to be corrected. In which case we must mercilessly eradicate them.

[24:16] Though much of the context and rhetoric surrounding the statements relate to Christians being seen as enemies and agents of imperial forces, Christians were still deliberately targeted as a group which is the key issue in relation to the requirement to prove specific intent to destroy a religious group as such. Those quotes attributed to Kim Il Sung are from secondary sources and are not recorded in official text. Intent is naturally difficult to prove for the obvious reasons that any state may not wish to publish its genocidal intentions on paper. And even if it does, such papers would normally be difficult to obtain.

[24:58] As mentioned above in the light of these difficulties, the ICT has recognised that intent can be inferred from either words or deeds and may be demonstrated by a pattern of purposeful actions. (Wang Jan Hop Yop) who was a policy maker, who was the architect of the (25.17) policy and we've listed some of the sub groups of (25.23) in the report - I didn't read them out because they are in the report and explicit. He was the KWP Secretary and a confidante of Kim Il Sung. He is well placed to give insight on policy and reality in North Korea.

[25:37] Among his relevant statements he has said, if anybody in North Korea publically states that they believe in religion, they die. (25.48) who I know personally and interviewed, was a guard at prison camps 11, 13, 22 and 26, states in relation to the genocide definitions, and he was a prison officer from 1987 to 1994. We do not have national or ethnic groups so the genocide definition does not apply in this regard. But the treatment of Christians precisely fits the genocide definition. The genocide definition fits the policy towards Christians 100%.

[26:28] There was a special instruction from the political leadership that all religions are socially evil. There was an abundance of references to Christian groups for the purposes of annihilation. There were speeches, texts, instructions, textbooks and pamphlets covering this. The regime is seen to be like opium that has to be wiped out. When I was on duty I saw many Christians, one is meant to worship only the political leaders and any other worship was a deviation from loyalty to the regime. When North Koreans hear about god they think they are talking about Kim Il Sung.

[27:09] All North Koreans have this confusion. If anyone embraces Christianity in North Korea they are called a crazy guy. They are called superstitious actually. No one can understand or imagine someone wanting to become a Christian. It is very unlikely one can find a descendant of a Christian still living. The camp rules were intended to prevent Christian families. Everyone in the camp was prevented from reproducing, if someone had a baby it would be a problem in the whole camp. Christians were reactionaries and there were lots of instructions and mottos to wipe out the seed of reactionaries.

[27:46] The purpose of the camps I was involved in was to kill the prisoners. Instead of killing them by shouting, the intention was to force them to work until the last minute. The intention was to kill, not to extract labour, the purpose was to kill, not to extract labour the purpose was to kill. The method was just different. (28.07) recalls that early in the 1950s and under the instruction of Kim Il Sung, the North Korean regime embarked on a policy of rooting out religion thoroughly and the North Korean Workers Party mapped out the fundamental principles as follows.

[28:23] Firstly through ideological indoctrination, ordinary religious followers must be made to abandon their religious beliefs and practices. Secondly religious leaders who are found to be engaged in counter revolutionary or anti-State activities against the government policy must be punished in accordance with the related laws. Among the details to implement these principles was that those religious believers found incapable of being re-made would be classified as the targets of dictatorship.

[28:58] Religious persecution has indeed been brutal, with the implementation of a very harsh programme on repression of religion, especially in the 1950s and 60s, persecuting ex-Christians were particularly harsh, with Protestants singled out and virulent anti-Christian propaganda was channelled through the party, companies, schools and workers associations. Creating a culture of hatred and mistrust of Christians.

[29:24] By the 1950s there were no churches functioning, likewise all Buddhist temples and (29.33) places of worship were eliminated.

M: [29:34] Would you explain to me the Cheondoist work because they have a very large number of adherence, or did have in 1950.

M1: [29:36] Yes they did. It's a mixture of Confucianism and Buddhism, a mixture of the two religions. (29.51) a foremost Korean academic authority on religion in North Korea states, all religiously activity people have disappeared as a result of the central party's intensive guided programme. 900 pastors, some 300,000 followers have either been killed or forced to recant their faith. 260 Catholic fathers, nuns and monks and 50,000 Catholic followers were killed because they refused to recant their faith.

[30:19] In addition, some 1,600 Buddhist monks and nuns and their 35,000 Buddhist followers have been wiped out. And 120,000 followers of (30.32) have disappeared or been forced to recant their faith. Because of this persecution about 400,000 religiously active people and their families were either executed or banished to political camps. There's been a change in religious demography and you will find that on our pages. I don't intend to go through this table, but in the KWP Year Book, in 1950 the population of North Korea was at 9 million and 23.69% were following religions. In 1950 the realistic - ah that was their Year Book and the realistic estimates were about 2.5 million followers of religions, 28% and by 2002 of a population of nearly 23 million, just 0.16% were followers of religion.

[31:37] However we raised the legitimate question of how such a transformation took place in North Korea, while significant numbers of religious believers fled south before and during the war there were still significant numbers who would have remained. These dramatic changes are reflected in the consistent response of North Koreans that there are no longer any Christians in the country. The reversal of religious life is also seen in the reduced number of places of worship.

[32:07] For example, the South Korean church has identified 3,000 Protestant Christian places of worship that were operating in the northern area, in stark contrast to the two Protestant churches now existing in the capital. That was when we launched a report in 2007, we now know that there are four Protestant churches - state churches in the capital.

M: [32:31] Reverend Winter, we can read all this and we are very much indebted to you because it’s a thoroughly researched and footnoted.

M1: [32:38] I'm just coming to the end commissioner.

M: [32:40] Yes but there's no need to read what we can read. I mean we're not illiterate and we must allow time because we have a few questions for you. It's much more important that we engage our minds than we have a reading lesson. Especially as this hour is late in a full on day of nine hours of public hearings uninterrupted. Now I've got a few questions for you. We will read carefully and re-read materials you have read to us.

M1: [33:07] Thank you.

M: [33:09] And I thank you for providing to us, L4 will be very helpful to us in our general deliberations as well as our deliberations in relation to religion. But these arguments might be put against the proposition that you are putting to us. First of all that the statements attributed to Kim Il Sung do not appear in official records. And therefore they are traced to an organisation which we have also met in our travels, (33.44) which is an organisation which is associated with or partly funded by the government of the Republic of Korea, which is seen as the deadly enemy of the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea. So that's the first problem the records are no official and they may not represent an authentic statement of the official mind.

[34:12] Secondly, Kim Il Sung himself the great leader the marshal and the founder of North Korea and the person who established (Yushi) and the philosophy of the government and regime was himself the son of a Presbyterian Minister of religion and was no doubt brought up in a Christian belief to that extent. Thirdly, there is no fundamental difficulty as there is in other societies where there is a clash between Christianity and another used religion. Here if there is a clash between the underlying spiritual basis of the country it would be with a Confucian belief. And the Confucian belief does not posset another god, it simply possets a set up around morality and rules for life. Therefore at least argumentatively there is no essential reason why there should be a dispute between Christianity and the regime in North Korea.

[35:27] Fourthly, the Constitution of North Korea in its terms protects freedom of prediction. Fifthly, there are State recognised churches in North Korea and sixthly, I learned within the last day or so that there has actually been a new seminary for the training of ministers of religion established in (35.53). So that given all those factors, what would you say in answer to the contingent, well this is just propaganda by foreigners who want to discredit the regime in North Korea. In fact there isn't such an animosity between religion and North Korea as friendly place, as witnessed the official churches which exist in North Korea which are similar to official churches that have existed in China for some time.

M1: [36:25] Well what the regime, might say is contrary to all that we hear from the refugees that we meet from North Korea. The practice -- the reality is that…

M: [36:34] It's certainly contrary to some of the evidence we heard today.

M1: [36:38] Yes.

M: [36:40] A matter of immediate interrogation was whether people who had left North Korea for China were asked, had they had any connection with Republic of Korea and secondly had they had any connection with churches.

M1: [36:55] Well the reality is that most North Korean's, 90% - 99% of the population have never seen a church, never seen a bible, never seen a pastor. And the common belief of those that we've talked to and amongst the experts that we partner in South Korea is that the state churches are show churches for people from the west. And there may be, and it's true to say that there are Christians who are left from the 50s and 60s still living in the country. They were allowed to remain in the country and they would be some of the people that would be going to these churches.

[37:38] But we have been told on good authority that in fact some of the services in the state churches are being acted out by actors and in fact they are show churches and not…

M: [37:49] What sort of congregations do they - there are now four official churches. Is there one Protestant, one Roman Catholic?

M1: [38:02] Well four Protestant and one Catholic. But I'm not - I can't tell you about the congregation it's something I don't know.

M: [38:11] Yes. And you - has your organisation been able to get into North Korea at all?

M1: [38:19] I personally haven’t been, I've been to the border. We have made official visits to the government and dialogue with the government.

M: [38:30] Through (38.33) churches in the Republic of Korea. Have you been able to make any contact with church organisations or even believing Christians without a church organisations in the North?

M1: [38:47] It's a sensitive question. I can say that we've been told on good authority that there are hundreds of underground small groups of underground believers in the North. We have contacts in the South that work in China and have contacts in the North. It's just a very sensitive issue that you're asking me. We've certainly at a high level been and met the government but we don't go into the country. We work in China and the border.

M: [39:27] What in your submission is the essential reason that a Confucian based moral system, which it doesn't have a theist basis so clashes with Christian belief that there should be a deadly animosity towards it?

M1: [39:58] I think the Christian gospel is a gospel that empowers people to change their lives and gives them a life changing experience. That's a powerful thing when a person can change their lives. We see this when we meet North Koreans and we meet the people that have heard the gospel and immediately because of the lifestyle they've had in the north, they immediately respond to the gospel. So the Christian gospel is a life changing experience and is life changing, but when the people hear it it gives them hope for the future. North Korean's don't have hope of a happy life really in terms of all that we've heard today is really harrowing and difficult.

M: [40:57] Yet there's no uprising against the regime in North Korea.

M1: [41:00] No, because the State ruthlessly dictates all avenues of life in the North. There is no freedom of the press, there is no freedom…

M: [41:11] Christianity has been taking strength from such a society and of continuing resistance to it and that standing up against it. So why has a religious organisation which at 1950 numbered 23% of the population, so quietly and meekly agreed to reduce itself to 0.16% - a tiny tiny fraction.

M1: [41:38] Absolutely, I think it's because of fear. There is so much fear amongst North Koreans and their lives from the state, and the imposition of the state on the citizens. Every aspect of life is controlled by the state. We have been told that one in three North Koreans are informers on others. So I mean living in a society like that it would be very difficult to stand up and stand firm. We just don't see it in the North because of the fear.

M: [42:19] It would be interesting to know more about the official churches as you would know there have been official churches in China too which is a country with a somewhat more relaxed attitude toward religion and the mind searches for an analogy to what has been happening in Korea. The language of the opiate of the people and being like a drug is the language that the orthodox well known language of Marx. And therefore the similarity to China seems possible.

M1: [43:02] But if we look at the parallels commissioner. In the 60s all the western missionaries were driven out of China and we wondered what would happen in China. But in China, with a more free society the gospel grew and the estimate today is that there are over 100 million Christians in China. But in North Korea the enforcement of the state on the individual is total and there is so much fear. And the evidence that I've given you and the evidence that you are going to hear probably in other places is such that Christians when they're found, they, their parents, their children are put into prisons and there is a ruthless campaign to root out Christianity and stop it in the country.

M: [43:53] There is of course a lot of resistance in China to the (43.55) movement.

M1: [43:55] Yes, absolutely.

M: [43:58] And that can be sometimes explained by the concern of the political party, the government party at the creation of an alternative civil society base in the community. Do you see any parallel to that and the Christian denominations in North Korea?

M1: [44:19] The big problem I see is that in China Christians are not free totally, but they are free and they do worship and there is a huge denomination of Catholic and Protestant Christians. There is a state church which is widespread throughout China, both Catholic and Protestant. There's a huge underground church which is at least 100 million strong. But in North Korea, because of the state oppression and repression of the people, and the drive to root out Christianity and the treatment of Christians when they're found, any growth in Christianity would be secret, would be underground and would not be public.

M: [45:05] If you have any readily available material which examines or contrasts the position of the Christian churches in China with that in North Korea. I think the Commission of Inquiry would be grateful if you could lay your hand on that and send it to the secretariat.

M1: [45:24] Absolutely and we will do that following this hearing.

M: [45:26] And if you have any other documentation that you want to put before us, supplementary to exhibit L4, then I would invite you to put that before us and we will read it.

M1: [45:41] We have our country report which is based just done a couple of months ago which we'd like to.

M: [45:45] Is that this document L4?

M1: [45:47] No it's an additional document. And also it brings - it's an up to date document and a review of North Korea.

M: [46:00] …the case that is described in L4? It just brings the statistics up to date?

M1: [46:06] Up to date, yes. And also this year we gave evidence at the Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations and that - our UPR document is also available for you. And we've submitted it to your administration team.

M: [46:25] I will mark this document Briefing North Korea Country Report - July 2013 as exhibit L5 tendered during the evidence of the Reverend Stuart Windsor. We'll read that as well and I'm grateful to you for bringing that. Is there any other documentation that you would like to put before us tonight?

M1: [46:46] No, not at the moment. There is something I could submit to you in that when we launched the report in 2007, we received from a Czechoslovakian human rights group a film of a public execution. And it was shown on BBC2 News night in 2007. I think we could submit a copy to you if you haven't seen any film of a public execution then we have film and we would make it available to you probably next week or the week after.

M: [47:18] Well any material which you consider that will be supportive of the submission that you're placing before us, which is certainly one that the Commission has under its mandate to consider, namely whether these are crimes amounting to crimes against humanity or genocide will be something we will consider. And I would invite you to put that before the secretariat, but quickly, because our inquiry in the hearing process is coming to a conclusion next week.

M1: [47:49] Thank you, yes I will. One more thing I would say, when we launched the report North Korea (47.57) act in June 2007, a Vice President of the International Association of Genocide Students, Linda Melvern who is now a second President, read our report and she said this and I will give a statement to your administration staff afterwards. She said, after reading our report, and she was an expert on Rwanda genocide, gave evidence at the ICC. She said in my personal view, and it was a personal view, she said the report North Korea, A Case to Answer the QATO Act, in my view proves crimes against humanity, against those who held a religious belief in the presence of North Korea.

[48:46] So she had a narrow focus, she said for those who hold a religious belief and were imprisoned in the prisons of North Korea, the way they were treated and the perpetrations against them in her personal view constituted crimes against humanity.

M: [49:03] Who is this person?

M1: [49:05] Linda Melvern.

M: [49:06] Who is she and why is she…?

M1: [49:09] She was a genocide expert. She gave evidence at the ICC on Rwanda and she was then the Vice President of the International Association of Genocide Students.

M: [49:23] I see. Well if you present that with perhaps some bio data on Ms Melvern it would be helpful to us in regard to it, if she has a background in genocide law. Because not many people do.

M1: [49:38] No but she has.

M: [49:41] Very well. Is there anything else that you wanted to say to us?

M1: [49:44] No, the only bit that I didn't read was the current situation. If anything it's worse than before and on the situation of the camps, when we wrote the report and published the report there were six camps, prison camps and we list them in the document they are in the document. But we've since learnt, as some of your witnesses have said, that there are labour training camps and the State Security have their own labour training camps. The military have their own labour training camps and so do the police. So there are hundreds of camps in North Korea.

M: [50:30] On the other hand we have had some evidence that suggests the winding down of some of the camp system and to some degree a consolidation of camps into a fewer number, whether this has led to a smaller population or not is not entirely clear.

M1: [50:50] Yes and I have some evidence on camp 22 which was closed down last year. One of our experts told us there are two possibilities. One, that some of the prisoners were moved to a place called (Katstan) in the mountains. Or that many of the prisoners were distributed to other prisons and there has been an amalgamation of prisons as you've said in the recent year.

M: [51:13] Well again any material that you have from reliable sources relating to the number of camps, the number of inmates in camps, the different varieties of camps, the conditions in the camps and any human rights implications of camp life. I'd invite you to put that before the Commission of Inquiry because that's plainly very relevant to our mandate.

M1: [51:41] Yes, well we will try and do that.

M: [51:43] Yes, if you would do that within the next four weeks at the most.

M1: [51:46] Yes, okay.

M: [51:51] Alright. Do you have any questions? I want to thank you very much Mr Windsor for coming along and for staying the course until the very late hour.

M1: [52:01] Thank you.

M: [52:02] I want to thank you for the material that you've given us which we will carefully read, and the material which you've promised which we will also take into account before we make our report.

M1: [52:13] Thank you.

M: [52:15] We have to make our report by next March as you probably know, and we will stick to that deadline and our report will be concluded and in the hands of the Human Rights Council as our mandate requires by next March. So I thank you and I thank your organisation for staying with us and giving evidence at the end of a very heavy day.

M1: [52:37] Thank you for your time.

M: [52:41] Is there any representative present of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea who were invited to attend and were not present earlier in the day? The record will show that there was no response to that invitation. There being no further representation before us, we will close this Public Hearing of the Commission of Inquiry in London. The next Public Hearing will be taking place in Washington in the District of Columbia in the United States of America next Wednesday, 29th October - the 30th October. Thank you all very much for attending and once again I put on record my thanks to all those who assisted in the running the organisation of our public hearings, and in particular, though in her absence the interpreter whose work I think was quite heroic. Very well, this Public Hearing is concluded.

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