Kang Chol-Hwan

North Korean defector, author, and journalist

Kang Chol-hwan is a journalist, author, and North Korean defector. He is the founder and president of the North Korea Strategy Center (NKSC), an organization that educates North Korean defectors and brings awareness to human rights abuses committed by the North Korean government. At nine years old, he and his entire family were imprisoned in the Yodok concentration camp after Kang’s grandfather was accused of treason. For 10 years, Kang and his family endured starvation, beatings, and the threat of execution. After he was released from the camp, he escaped North Korea by crossing the Yalu River into China, eventually immigrating to South Korea. In 2000, he published “The Aquariums of Pyongyang,” the very first survivor account of North Korea’s concentration camps. In 2012, renowned international human rights lawyer Jared Genser filed a petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Kang and a fellow North Korean defector for the release of their family members thought to be arrested and imprisoned at Yodok concentration camp. The United Nations Human Rights Council subsequently adopted a resolution to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate North Korea’s widespread and systematic human rights abuses.

Kang's Talks

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