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Freedom Collection

Interviews with Shin Dong-hyuk

Interviewed March 4, 2024

My story, having been born in a political prison camp and escaping, is unique. It has captured the interest and attention of people throughout the world, and for that I am quite thankful.

However, I believe I have no strength in the sense that no matter how much I go around the world and urge the international community to take action, to show interest, the North Korean government will not budge. Furthermore, North Korea will not even listen or be influenced by the strongest nation in the world, the United States.

I believe that if people really care about what is going on in the political prison camps, for example, where people are being born and getting killed, living an existence similar to what I experienced, people will really want to get involved and concrete action will be taken.

When I look at the world, it seems to me there is little attention paid to countries that oppress their people, but

these nations should be called out for their actions; by not paying attention, it’s as if people provide implicit support for these regimes.

That is why I believe the international community has a responsibility to do something.

Last fall, I had a chance to visit with officials at the United States Department of State and one of them said something quite interesting.

This official said that one of the U.S. Government’s most regrettable moments took place in the 1940’s during World War II.

Even though the international community and the United States were aware of Nazi prison camps, no immediate action was taken to deal with them.

This was one of the most troubling and regretful moments in U.S. history.

I would answer what the official said by saying that if the international community fails to take action against what is happening in North Korea, the same sentiment will be felt 60, 70 years from now: regret.