Last Wednesday a man was apprehended by the South Korea coast guard attempting to smuggle himself into the city. He has not been identified by the coast guard as of yet, and there is no suspicion that he is a spy.

According to Lee Dae-Seon, a campaigner from Dialogue China non-profit group, the man in question is 35-year-old Kwon. Kwon is reported to have been attempting to flee his homeland in North Korea, hoping to start a new life in South Korea. Little else is known about the man or his situation, however.

Lee Dae-Seon noted that Kwon had tried to bribe officers with money in order to gain entry into the country. After the coast guard apprehended Kwon, he was sent to a detention center to await trial.

The desperate attempt by Kwon to escape the overbearing North Korean regime speaks volumes. The oppressive Kim-regime remains unscathed by international scrutiny and rife with endless human rights violations. North Korea continues to imprison its citizens in political prison camps without trial and human rights groups have noted a range of social, economic, and political issues and abuses which remain un-abated.

It remains to be seen what the outcome of Kwon’s case will be, or if he will even be accepted into South Korea. According to local law, defectors fleeing North Korea can only stay in the South if they file an asylum application with the South Korean government.

For too many years, North Koreans have not been able to access the basic rights they deserve. It is clear that the oppressive regime of the North Korean regime holds countless numbers of its people captive- both in its prison camps and through its oppressive policies. The recent actions of Kwon are a reminder of the harshness of life under the North Korean regime, and shine a spotlight onto the dire state of human rights in North Korea.

Dialogue China is part of an global effort fighting for the rights of those oppressed by the North Korean regime. Along with other organisations, it is working to ensure the safety of those risking the treacherous journey to freedom, and to secure correct treatment of North Korean people around the world. Lee Dae-Seon noted that all North Korean East Asian countries have a responsibility to provide refuge to escapees from the North, and to see them be treated with the same level of respect and dignity as any other human being.