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North Korea’s Secret Concentration Camps

North Korea’s Secret Concentration Camps

We told ourselves, “Never again!” But then it happened again. And again. And it’s happening right now in North Korea.

150,000 to 200,000 people are believed to be imprisoned in government-run concentration camps–called gulags–in North Korea for criticizing the government or practicing Christianity. Not only are these “offenders” sent to the gulags, but the next two generations of their family as well, in order to “root out the bad blood and seed of dissent.” There is no judicial process and many are tortured into “confessing” their crimes (which could be something as small as using “newspapers with a picture of the Dear Leader for toilet paper“).

The North Korean government denies the existence of these camps, but as reported by the U.S. Department of State, North Korea’s regime subjects its people to poor human rights conditions. 

The conditions of these prison camps are terrible, as described in a Washington Post article: “[They eat] a diet of mostly corn and salt, they lose their teeth, their gums turn black, their bones weaken and, as they age, they hunch over at the waist. Most work 12- to 15-hour days until they die of malnutrition-related illnesses, usually around the age of 50. Allowed just one set of clothes, they live and die in rags, without soap, socks, underclothes or sanitary napkins.” Babies born in the detention facilities are stamped to death by guards and unethical chemical experiments are conducted on the detainees.

Many people at risk for being sent to these camps try to escape North Korea by entering into China, only to be sent back. Those who aren’t sent back are often “treated as ‘livestock’ in China.”

China has plenty of its own human rights issues, but as North Korea’s closest ally and biggest trading partner, it is the one nation with the most power to influence North Korea. It is possible that if China is pressured enough, it could influence North Korea to shut down the concentration camps.

Although I was absolutely shocked to read about the horrific conditions being forced upon too many North Korean people, I was even more shocked to read that some are apathetic. It is all too easy to ignore the reality that people are suffering, especially when the situation seems hopeless and compassion is just too painful. However, as the great Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”  Take action today by signing this petition and help stop North Korea’s operation of these concentration camps.

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Photo Courtesy of Istockphoto.com
By Erika Oglesby

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99 comments

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12:04AM PDT on May 27, 2010

US and South-Korean armies should use the recent attack by Nort-Korea on a South-Korean vessel as ammotive to finally topple kIM yONG nAM's regime, backed by UN-security council.
oUr dEAR lEADER should be forced to use picture of hIMSELF as toilet papers while his freed victims can watch, in person or via webcam, this is only a small part og the punishment for hIM and hIS foolish followers.
Please sign 'Free Indian beggers'.
Please read http://libraryofthegrowthofmind.blogspot.com.

2:32AM PDT on Apr 13, 2010

This must end. I thought this kind of treatment of human beings was a thing of the past. Obviously I, like many others, was misinformed and believed that people were not made to suffer like this since Nazi Germany. What does it take? This is not ok.

5:50PM PDT on Mar 25, 2010

How many times in my life have I heard tha words "Never again"? Humanity always seems to find a way to degrade itself again.

8:42AM PDT on Mar 16, 2010

I am very surprised as to the number of people who have never heard of gulags. Honestly these are in many parts of the world. Russia being one of them where I think the word came from. In a country like N Korea there is nothing you can do about it. S Korea, the US nor any other country can do anything about it outside of an invasion. China has the most pull or Russia but these are the 2 who also use them. N Korea will be handled very delicately because of their "possible" nuke and that is the world's biggest concern so unfortunately these thousands will suffer for quite a long time unless there is a revolt or war with Kim Jung Slanteye.

11:24PM PDT on Mar 15, 2010

how is this even possible?!

7:23PM PDT on Mar 14, 2010

It should stop, this is persecution and discrimination and a violation of human rights.

5:48AM PST on Mar 11, 2010

I had no idea. Just stop it ~

7:39PM PST on Mar 7, 2010

Korean Government should act on this!

4:54PM PST on Mar 7, 2010

This is inhumane and horrible

2:17PM PST on Mar 7, 2010

THESE ARE IN CHINA TOO!!!!!!!!!!!

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