Across the globe, there are many international issues garnering attention. Within each major problem is the plight of the people being effected. There is no better example of human rights issues than those that arise from the defectors that have successfully made it out of the North Korean regime. One survivor has made the decision to tell her story detailing the horrors she survived now that she has reached freedom. For Yeonmi Park, her story is far from over but she will continue to tell it for those that have been left behind.
North Korean Regime
As the lucky few are able to escape from North Korea, a clearer picture of life endured there begins to emerge. Currently ruled by Kim Jong-un, the country is considered by the rest of the world to be a totalitarian dictatorship, although North Korea considers itself to be a socialist state. Since taking over the supreme leader position in 2010, Kim Jong-un has been aggressively threatening multiple countries. In 2013, this included threatening the United States and South Korea with a nuclear attack. In response, the United States has pushed for sanctions against North Korean nuclear testing as well as attempted peace talks between North and South Korea for the last two years.
In addition to threats of destruction and nuclear attacks, North Korea has a long and familiar history with human rights violations. Although the country makes it extremely difficult to enter or leave their country, reports have extensively documented extreme violations of freedoms. In order to keep citizens in the dark about acceptable living conditions, North Korea does not allow free speech, religion, press, or any connection to the outside world such as radio, television, music or news of any kind unless it is approved by the government.
Defectors have also detailed what happens when these laws are violated. It has been reported that North Korea has many internment camps throughout the country to hold and punish prisoners for any reason deemed fit. At these camps, prisoners are expected to perform slave labor and are subjected to horrible living conditions, abuses, or even death.
One defector in particular is fighting not just to get her story heard, but to try to save others from a terrible fate back in North Korea. Born in North Korea in 1993, she witnessed horrible atrocities under the regime at a young age. In 2002 after her father was arrested and forced into a labor camp, the family agreed escape from North Korea was now necessary. The women of the family made their heroic escape in 2007, finally making it to South Korea by way of China after crawling across the Gobi desert.
Now that she has achieved freedom, Yeonmi Park of youngvoicesadvocates fights for others to do the same. She has written a book about her hardships so that the world will know what life is really like in North Korea as well as spoken publicly many times about the regime.