FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2016
New York, NY – Newly formed Working Group on North Korean Women announced today that it filed a total of nine communications with the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The communications procedure is the CSW equivalent of initiating a case against a country. The Working Group filed four communications involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and five communications involving the People’s Republic of China. Co-Chair Jason West was quoted as saying, “We believe this is the first time North Korean Women have filed communications with the CSW.”
These communications covered a wide number of issues and included testimony by well-known North Korean Women Jihyun Park and Lucia Jang (author of Stars Between the Sun and Moon). The Working Group also collaborated with Lee So-hyeon of the New Korea Women’s Union and Kim Jeong-ah of Reunification Moms’ Alliance.
“We were very excited to work with these wonderful and resilient women to help shed light on the heinous situation faced by Women in North Korea and China,” said Co-Chair and project initiator Betsy Kawamura. The Working Group plans to bring these witnesses to New York City next March for an event focusing on the plight of North Korean Women. They also are in talks with various nations about hosting an additional event at one of the many missions to the United Nations located in New York. Kawamura leaves this week on a good-will mission to Europe to continue her work with various European countries, particularly Norway and Sweden, on this and other projects. Mr. West also plans to travel to Iceland later this year in hopes to establish a working relationship with their Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Norway, Sweden, and Iceland have a long history of promoting human rights and gender equity around the world. The pair also plan to collaborate with other countries and organizations. Mr. West stated that “our goal in hosting these events is to educate the diplomats and policymakers about the very real problems faced by North Korean Women.” Kawamura went on to say that “the CSW has never taken up this issue and we want to change that; a commission dedicated to Women’s Rights has so far missed one of the most vulnerable groups of Women in the world, North Korean Women.”
The Working Group will be hosting a series of fundraisers in order to help cover the costs associated with hosting these events and bringing these witnesses to New York City. “We’re all volunteers,” stated West, “but we can’t ask these witnesses to pay for their own tickets to New York. If we want to bring them here, we need to raise the funds to do so.” More information about their fundraising efforts will be posted on the Working Group’s website, NKWomen.com.
About the Commission on the Status of Women
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is part of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations. It meets in New York City every March to promote the advancement of women worldwide and gender equality.
About the Working Group on North Korean Women
The Working Group is comprised of organizations, human rights activists, and experts dedicated to engaging and educating the international community on the grave human rights abuses suffered by North Korean Women. It was founded by Suzanne Scholte, Chairman of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, and Betsy Kawamura, Founder of Women4NonViolence in Peace+Conflict Zones. The main goal of the Working Group is to make North Korean Women’s Rights a mainstream issue at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Their first event at the CSW was hosted at the US Mission to the United Nations in March 2016. More information can be found at NKWomen.com
Jason West, Esq.
The Working Group on North Korean Women
℅ The North Korea Network
2020 Pennsylvania Ave NW, #168
Washington, DC 20006