Event: Exiled North Korean Activism

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea will hold two presentations on November 8th at 17:00 in Committee Room 21, the Houses of Parliament.

First, in partnership with the European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea, the South Korea-based National Students’ Council of North Korean Human Rights will address the Group. Consisting of 32 chapters at 28 universities across South Korea, the Council hosts conferences, seminars, exhibitions, and a Human Rights Week to engage young people in the quest for the improvement of North Korean human rights.

The guest speaker will be Ji Young Lee, a 29-year-old North Korean exile. As a former member of staff at the Ministry of State Security in North Korea, Lee saw first-hand how the North Korean state systematically violates human rights. Lee will talk about her work today and her experiences of discrimination in North Korea. 

The second presenter will be Seung Hoon Chae, a Ph.D. candidate in Politics at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Chae will speak on the causes behind the activism of North Korean refugees.

Whereas previous studies of the North Korean diaspora have often sought answers from the refugees’ experiences in the home country, Chae will suggest that reasons for ‘voice’ need not be grounded upon reasons for ‘exit’. Thus a ‘political’ refugee is not necessarily more political in the host country, and an ‘economic’ migrant may realise, post-exit, new political potentials for changing his home country. Based on 83 structured interviews and qualitative assessments of 13 semi-structured interviews, Chae will present a case study of North Korean refugees in the UK to suggest that the voices of North Korean refugees are determined more by who a person is today than who that person was at the point of exiting North Korea.

Attendance is free and open to the public. Please arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the event to clear security and make your way to the Committee Room. The Houses of Parliament can be accessed via the Cromwell Green visitor entrance.