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  • Martin Yoon

LINK: How You Can Link Passion to Real Change?

The fervor of North Korea - South Korea - U.S summit from 2018 to 2019 dissipated, and many forgot the deadly nuclear threat looming from the reclusive state. Furthermore, when Covid-19 rampaged around the globe, even the last remaining interest for North Korea completely disappeared. North Korea, however, needs international attention more than ever as the isolation of North Korea allows human right violations to go unchecked. While the lockdown of North Korea was simply justified with the Covid-19 pandemic, the intensity of the regime’s control over borders and trade dramatically increased to the extent that we have seen record low North Korean refugees and trades in and out of North Korea.

To the public, North Korea has long been considered a grave threat, a country that must be regulated with its nuclear capacity since the 2000s. Behind its boastful nuclear weapons, military parade, and propaganda media coverage, the majority of the international community misses more than 25 million individuals who have no political rights and face the worst humanitarian crisis daily. Within the high walls of the authoritarian regime, the dictator holds absolute power that demands fanatic loyalty to the regime and a complete detachment from any personal interests including: religion, political voice, and even home. Unregulated from any international laws that guarantee basic human rights, North Korea has political prison camps that incarcerate estimated 200,000 prisoners who are subjected to forced labor and tortures. In stark contrast to the appalling oppression of its citizens, North Korea organizes extravagant military parades, to force a facade of prosperity and strength to other countries. In fact, it seems that the regime has achieved political success in diverting away the much needed international attention from its domestic humanitarian crisis.

The North Korean regime started in the 1950s and has continued through a dynasty, while similar authoritarian states have crumbled and democratic reforms have progressed throughout the late 20th century. The future of North Korea seems bleak and dismal. Are we even capable of initiating any changes in North Korea as individuals living in at least 5800 miles away from North Korea? Yes, there is something you can do about it. This is where Liberty in North Korea, in short, LiNK, comes in.

LiNK is an international nonprofit organization that helps North Korean refugees escape North Korea and gives them a voice to spread awareness about the never-ending tragedy in North Korea. Since its founding in 2004, LiNK has rescued 1201 North Korean refugees with its own rescue teams on the Chinese border. Moreover, LiNK staff work with these North Korean refugees for resettlement plans and provide crucial opportunities and education needs to adapt to their new environments. That does not mean that you have to go to North Korea or become a part of the LiNK staff to make an impact. In fact, you can join your local community’s LiNK rescue team, or if you can’t find one, you can create a local rescue team.

Along with a few members - it could be just you and your best friend - you can get access to many helpful resources that will guide your rescue team to impact the local community. LiNK website offers a variety of resources that enables your rescue team to hold successful fundraisers and campaigns, even with talented North Korean Refugee speakers.

The North Korean humanitarian crisis is something that we should all note. The very existence of these abasements of human rights endangers our freedom, safety, and independence from a tyrannical government. The end of this miserable state is inevitable, yet action is a determinant to how fast this authoritarian regime crumbles. Bring your action together and link it to others to reach the worst and largest humanitarian crisis today!

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