Human Rights, Accountability, & Access to Information in North Korea


The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) announces a Request for Statements of Interest (RSOI) from organizations interested in submitting Statements of Interest (SOI) for programs that support the policy objective to promote human rights, increase accountability, and foster the free flow of information into, out of, and within North Korea.

DRL anticipates having approximately $2,650,000, pending availability of funds, for new programs following the categories listed below.

Fostering the Free Flow of Information (approximately $1,600,000, pending availability of funding, with potentially more than two (2) projects awarded)

DRL’s goal is for the people of North Korea to have increased access to independent information that provides a range of viewpoints and increases exposure to and understanding of environments where individuals are able to communicate information and express their opinions freely. Illustrative program activities include:

  • Producing and transmitting radio broadcasts into North Korea;
  • Producing content and/or acquiring existing content of interest to North Korean audiences;
  • Exploring new mechanisms or expanding existing mechanisms for sharing or consuming information and content;
  • Raising awareness of legal rights under existing DPRK domestic laws and its international human rights obligations;
  • Raising awareness of international best-practices and norms; and,
  • Promoting fundamental freedoms, including expression, movement, association, and peaceful assembly……

Promoting Human Rights and Accountability (approximately $500,000, pending availability of funding, with approximately two (2) projects awarded)

DRL’s goal is to increase international pressure on the DPRK government to comply with its human rights obligations through increasing the amount of objective, credible information available about human rights in the DPRK, raising international awareness about human rights conditions, and engaging international actors to adopt approaches or actions that facilitate improvements in human rights conditions and/or lead to increased accountability for human rights violations and abuses. Illustrative program activities include:

  • Documenting cases of human rights violations and abuses in the DPRK, including cases of forced repatriations or other human rights violations or abuses of North Korean people outside of the DPRK;
  • Establishing and/or maintaining a public online database of prisons and gulags in the DPRK, including a list of political prisoners;
  • Publishing reports that meaningfully contribute to, but do not duplicate or repackage, public information on DPRK human rights conditions;
  • Increasing information available on perpetrators of human rights violations or abuses;
  • Amplifying the documentation work of the UN Commission of Inquiry on the situation in the DPRK;
  • Submitting reports or conducting advocacy campaigns at international fora, including the UN Human Rights Council, General Assembly, or other relevant UN bodies or international mechanisms; and,
  • Expanding global partnerships to mobilize increased support in other regions and countries for human rights in North Korea……

Developing Skills for Program Implementation and/or in Preparation for Future Political Openings (approximately $550,000, pending availability of funding, with potentially up to two (2) projects awarded)

DRL’s goal is to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of program implementation by the North Korean defector community and individuals working to promote human rights and democracy in the DPRK and to further develop the skills of potential leaders from the defector community in preparation for future political openings, including reunification. Illustrative program activities include:

  • Providing support to improve key administrative practices, such as organizational management, financial management, internal controls, proposal writing, and compliance with donor requirements, with the objective of increasing the number of organizations focusing on DPRK human rights able to manage international funding;
  • Strengthening skills and knowledge on key thematic issues, such as international standards for conducting research and publishing reports, producing compelling or appealing content, and techniques for conducting effective public advocacy, including identifying target audiences and tailoring specific messages or recommendations for targeted interventions;
  • Providing small grants or other types of structured follow-up to training recipients to implement the skills learned through the trainings;
  • Fostering increased collaboration and information sharing among organizations working on DPRK human rights issues, as well as increasing sustainable partnerships between the defector community and international human rights community;
  • Providing professional development and leadership opportunities for key individuals within the DPRK human rights community; and,
  • Increasing opportunities for and encouraging greater participation of defector youth – who having grown up as part of the “jangmadang generation” may have different perspectives or creative ideas – to work in the human rights community as a source of creative approaches to reach youth audiences inside the DPRK, as well as to develop skills, such as from human rights research and advocacy to community organizing, in preparation for any future political openings.

Full details here.

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