Will diplomacy with North Korea come at the cost to human rights?
The Committee of Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a non-governmental organization based in Washington, DC, set up a billboard in Times Square to advocate against widespread human rights violations in North Korea. The video runs every 20 minutes on 43rd & Broadway and features three short clips of ten seconds each. Kicking off with a set of candles and “120,000 North Korean political prisoners are suffering,” it then displays a NASA satellite image with the words “S.O.S., freedom and justice for North Koreans,” and finishes off with a motion picture of barbed wires wrapping human figures that alludes to the state of life in North Korea’s “hidden gulags.”
“The North Korean gulag is no longer hidden. Its web of political prisons and labor camps—many visible on Google Earth—is there for all to see,” said veteran human rights investigator David Hawk. “But the men and women trapped inside this are hidden still, subject to enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, and forced labor under extremely harsh conditions.”
As HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu put it, “this billboard brings our deep concern for the plight of North Korean people right into the path of more than one million people going through Times Square every day.”