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article imageInside the International Conference on North Korean Human Rights Special

By Andrew Moran     Aug 19, 2010 in World
Toronto - The 10th annual International Conference on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees began its four-day conference in downtown Toronto. There will be art and music events, information sessions and a conference featuring two North Korean defectors.
“North Koreans sent to prison camps and detention centers are often subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” states Amnesty International on its website regarding North Korea. “Prisoners are punished if suspected of lying, not working fast enough or forgetting the words of patriotic songs. Forms of punishment include beatings, forced exercise, sitting without moving for prolonged periods of time and humiliation.”
From Aug. 19 to Aug. 22, the 10th International Conference on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees comes to the city of Toronto in order to inform the general public about the dire situation in North Korea, talk to prominent Canadian and international figures and raise awareness of the culture of North Korea.
There will be numerous events across the city during the four-day initiative, including a music concert, screenings of documentaries that depict the human rights crisis in North Korea (“The Red Chapel” and “Kimjongilla”) and two press conferences that will feature the stories of two North Korean refugees: Yong Cheol Kim and Ok Geum Kim.
“The 10th International Conference on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees will act asthe staging ground for the establishment of new dialogue, relationships, and initiatives amongst policymakers, academics, and NGOs while seeking the engagement of new stakeholders through public participation,” states the organization in a press release.
North Korean painting.
North Korean painting.
The international conference began at the Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto on Thursday where there were several booths setup providing information on the worldwide programme, art exhibits from North Korean artists and Korean food vendors.
At Saturday’s press conference, the conference will focus on female refugee trafficking, a general outlook of North Korea, the international community’s response and live testimony of the two North Korean defectors.
On Sunday, public officials from Canada and around the world will participate in a roundtable discussion to talk about “policy options to address the refugee and human rights crisis." Other attendees will include representatives from non-governmental organizations and academic experts.
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