"Min-sook," a North Korean refugee in the care of Crossing Borders in China, had three children in North Korea during the Great North Korean Famine. She watched as two died of starvation. She vowed to keep her third child alive at all costs. But her child, a little girl, was not doing well. As Min-sook held her frail child in her arms, her daughter said, “Mother, I want at least one bowl of white rice before I die.”
“Yes, I will sell my shirt at the market and buy you a bowl of rice,” Min-sook promised in reply. Her daughter smiled, touched the button of Min-sook’s shirt and breathed her last breath.
Though her daughter had passed away more than ten years ago, Min-sook was shaken as she recounted this story to Crossing Borders staff in China last month. After her children died, Min-sook fled to China where she was captured by traffickers and sold to a poor farmer. She was worked so hard that she permanently injured her back.
She cannot stand up straight today.
Yesterday the UN released a report about human rights violations committed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (or North Korea), which confirm what Crossing Borders and groups like us have been saying for more than a decade: North Korea has been engaged in horrific practices such as placing its own citizens in harsh labor camps and using food as a method of controlling its population.
As the world fixes its gaze on North Korea and North Korean refugees escaping from its government – which the UN report compares to Nazi Germany – we hope the world’s citizens ask themselves, “What can I do to create change for people fleeing from this regime?”
Here are five things you can do:
- Read as much about the situation as possible and keep your eyes out for news coming out of the country. North Korea is becoming a topic of great interest to the world. The more informed you are about citizens in North Korean and North Korean refugees fleeing, the more you will be inclined to help and keep helping. You can get news alerts from Google whenever North Korea is in the news.
- Tell as many people as you can about what has been confirmed by the UN and regarding the North Korean refugee crisis. The conditions in North Korea are horrific and the government is not helping its own people. Nazi Germany is one point of comparison. Today many people who lived through World War II regret not acting on an injustice that was evident in hindsight. You can help spread the word about these injustices through social media or by arranging a meeting at your church or community group. Send Crossing Borders a message and we'll do our best to come out to your meeting!
- Call your elected officials to pass effective legislation to help North Koreans and to put pressure on China to help North Korean refugees. These refugees are systematically hunted down by the Chinese government and forcibly sent back to North Korea where they are tortured and even executed. Here's a website with phone numbers of your congress people, if you're from the US.
- Give to groups like Crossing Borders who help alleviate the suffering of North Korean refugees who have made it out of their country. These people are hungry, impoverished and in need. Here's a link to our donation page.
- Pray for North Korea. We believe the only way to change the conditions for the North Korean people is for God to move. We are not sure why these things are happening but the Bible is clear that sometimes, terrible things happen so that His glory can be revealed. You can also subscribe to our Facebook and Twitter pages for regular prayer topics.
We believe that now is the time to act on the atrocities that have been occurring in North Korea and against North Korean refugees for decades. We are outraged by the reports coming out of North Korea and China and we hope that the world will be too. The suffering has gone on, unquestioned, for too long.