While most of the world—“most” because we are still waiting on Tehran, Havana, Caracas, of course—has appropriately reacted with outrage at this week’s nuclear test by the North Korean regime, there was also news of lesser import but nearly as chilling. It seems the regime of Kim Jong Un has not only been investing significant resources in their missile and nuclear technology programs but also pouring millions into expanding their system of gulags.
The North Korean Economy Watch Blog has analyzed Google Earth images and believes that there have been recent major expansions of at least two prison camps, Kwan-li-so No. 14 in Kaechon and Kwan-li-so No. 25 in Chongjin. This latter camp appears to have almost doubled in size.
While the regime directs resources toward growing its penal system and military hardware, there are continuing reports of famine.
Just imagine: there are parents who can’t feed their children; brothers and sisters watching each other whither and starve; best friends disappearing into the abyss of a prison camp. To these suffering people, nuclear tests are almost meaningless, except they probably know that their hunger is directly related to the repugnant priorities of their “leaders.” Nuclear tests are a significant threat to world stability and expose the mendacity of Kim Jong Un, but the crimes against the people of North Korea are a moral wound that will take generations to heal.
When the world’s eyes are on North Korea and its leader, let’s not forget the people who suffer the consequences of its nuclear program and those brave souls who challenge the regime.
Learn more about life in North Korea in the Freedom Collection interview with Kim Seong Minh:
This blog was written by Kent Patton, Blog Editor of the Freedom Collection.
The Year in Review: The Bush Institute's Global Impact
The George W. Bush Institute marched forward in 2016 toward its goals of developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today's most pressing challenges. The year also saw Kenneth Hersh become president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, as his predecessor, Margaret Spellings, departed to head the University of North Carolina System. As we look back over 2016, here are five top moments from the Bush Institute's Global Leadership Impact Center, which houses the Human Freedom Initiative, the Women's Initiative, and our global health initiative through our affiliate Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon. Bush Institute Releases We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope Book The book launched with an event at the Bush Center featuring a poignant conversation between Mrs. Bush and Razia Jan, who is featured in the book, moderated by Greta Van Susteren. Mrs. Bush promoted the book with a media tour throughout March, including interviews with the TODAY show and Glamour&
2016 International Human Rights Day
International Human Rights Day recognizes the universal freedoms of every man, woman, and child on Earth. To celebrate, we’re sharing what freedom and human rights mean to the 21 men and women from Burma comprising the Bush Institute’s current Liberty and Leadership Forum. Learn more about the Liberty and Leadership Forum here.
The Death of Uzbekistan’s Dictator: What It Means
Last week—the 25th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence—saw his death from an apparent brain hemorrhage. As the country prepares for its first transition of power since independence, here are a few points to consider.