Boy unjustly imprisoned for family's actions
North Korea, action created 1.6.2013, petition is active
Kim Jeong-Nam, an 11 year-old boy, suddenly disappeared along with his mother in 2011. Amnesty International believes he is being imprisoned in Yodok, a political prisoners camp the North Korean government claims does not exist.
Hundreds of thousands of people, including children, are being held in political prison camps and other facilities where conditions are continuous violations of human rights - forced labor, denial of food, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
It is estimated that 50,000 people are being held in Yodok, a camp for political prisoners in North Korea. Yodok is one of six known camps in the country, where an estimated 200,000 political prisoners and their families have been held without trial or due process.
The North Korean government denies the existence of any camp for political prisoners, including Yodok, despite the fact that their existence is confirmed by satellite imagery and testimony of former guardians, relatives of prisoners and former prisoners. Among the prisoners are officials whose job performances are seen as inadequate, critics of the regime and the ruling family, or people suspected of involvement in "anti-government" activities such as listening to radio or television broadcasts from South Korea.
Family members of those suspected of crimes are also sent to Yodok. This system of guilt arising from kinship (guilt by association) is used to silence dissent and to control the population through fear. Executions in Yodok are held in public as well as in secret, and they are usually carried out by firing squad or hanging. Prisoners may be executed for any number of reasons, including breaking the rules of the prison camp, such as stealing food.
The camps have total control zones from which prisoners are never released, except in very exceptional situations. Amnesty International knows of only three people who were released or escaped from the zone of total control. Many children are born in these zones and are remain there for the duration of their lives.
Some international human rights organizations consider human rights abuses in the camps as Yodok so grave and systematic as to be considered equal to crimes against humanity - the most serious offense that can be investigated, for which perpetrators are prosecuted before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.