Two outspoken North Koreans defectors spoke at the National Endowment for Democracy’s 2018 Democracy Award after being honored with the ceremony’s biggest prize. The National Endowment for Democracy said the award that went to four of the most effective nonprofit organizations standing for democracy and human rights in North Korea. The two North Koreans defectors who spoke, Ji Seong-ho and Sungjuu Lee, each made a big impact in the room with their amazing tales from inside the world’s worst dictatorship.
The National Endowment for Democracy said the award this year was meant to honor the “civil society movement for human rights and democracy in North Korea by recognizing the work of these four outstanding organizations”. In the two videos below, both speak. Ji Seong-ho is actually the president of 2018 NED Democracy Award, a reflection of the fact that the Democracy Award was focused on North Korea from the start. He also runs the North korea-focused organization, Now Action & Unity for Human Rights (NAUH), based in Seoul, South Korea.
The second video below features Sungju Lee identified as a consultant at the 2018 NED Democracy Awardee Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights. The four North Korean rights organizations recognized:
- The Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights (NKHR) is the world’s first and oldest NGO devoted fully to the advancement of North Korean human rights. Founded in Seoul in 1996, NKHR has spread international awareness on human rights issues in North Korea by organizing conferences, concerts, and art exhibitions, and by establishing a network of NGOs to influence government policymakers and the UN. NKHR also runs education and resettlement programs for North Korean youth in South Korea. Accepting the award on behalf of the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights are Bum-Jin Park and Sungju Lee.
- Since 2010, Now Action & Unity for Human Rights (NAUH) has been working to improve human rights conditions in North Korea and achieve a unified Korean Peninsula. NAUH has spearheaded awareness campaigns on North Korea’s human rights conditions, organized campaigns calling for unification, hosted cultural exchanges between South and North Korean young adults, participated in radio broadcasts that relay news of freedom for North Korea, and helped rescue operations of North Korean refugees. Accepting the award on behalf of Now Action & Unity for Human Rights are Seong-ho Ji and Shi-woo Choi.
- The Seoul-based non-profit Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG) was founded in September 2014 to collect, document and visualize evidence of crimes against humanity in North Korea to support the ongoing effort to hold perpetrators accountable, and to bring victims’ needs and rights to mainstream awareness. Additionally, TJWG works on capacity building projects for Korean civil society. Accepting the award on behalf of Transitional Justice Working Group are Hubert Younghwan Lee and Sehyek Oh.
- Unification Media Group (UMG) is an independent multimedia consortium based in Seoul, comprising Daily NK, an internet periodical reporting on all aspects of NorthKorea; Radio Free Chosun, which broadcasts content targeting North Korean citizens; and Open North Korea Radio. UMG aims to provide residents of North Korea with credible, timely news and information, while reporting to the international community uncensored news from within the country. Accepting the award on behalf of Unification Media Group are Kwang Baek Lee and Sang Yong Lee.
The first video of Ji Seong-ho is about 3 minutes. Take a look:
The second video of Sungju Lee is about 6 minutes. Take a look: