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Education and Awareness of the North Korean Defectors’ Human Rights

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This paper deals with the issue of the human rights of North Korean defectors. More specifically, it examines the importance of awareness in promoting human rights and the significant role public education takes in raising awareness. North Koreans’ human rights have been seriously infringed and violated in not only North Korea but in neighboring countries that refuse to grant them refugee status, exposing them to dangers of abuse, repatriation and even death. The South Korean government has tried to take a proactive role in protecting the defectors’ rights. However, there is a limit to what the government can do when the people do not support the government’s stance on North Korean human rights issues. The prerequisite to stronger action is raising public support through awareness on the issue and bring a change in the way South Koreans view North Koreans. This paper aims to 1) introduce how severely North Korean defectors’ human rights are abused, 2) identify the core of the problem by provide the results of a survey on how much secondary school students as well as college students know about the human rights abuses inflicted on North Korean refugees, 3) propose that education takes the most important role in raising awareness of and promoting human rights of North Korean defectors.
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Keywords: North Korean defectors; South Korean students; human rights education

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies, South Korea

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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  • Political Crossroads is a bi-annual, international, refereed journal which, since 1990, publishes critical and empirical scholarship in political science and international relations. Its areas of focus include global security, terrorism, national identity, migration and citizenship, and the politics of resources and trade.
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