Prison Camps In North Korea Essay

1624 words - 6 pages

In human history, the most famous prison camp is the Auschwitz concentration camp where millions of human beings spent the last of their days. The most notorious group from Auschwitz being the Jews who lost the greatest number of its people and also the most remembered from the concentration camp. A prison camp is defined as “a camp for the confinement of war or political prisoners” (“Prison camps,” Dictionary.com). Prison camps found in the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPNK) have been found to treat its prisoners little more than beasts. The atrocities done in North Korea are unknown but the severity of the camps have left great scars on the people of North Korea. If left unknown, the prison camps in North Korea can mirror Auschwitz’s mass genocide on millions of people.
In total, there have been approximately twenty-five prisons in North Korea. However as of 2011 the number of prison camps are officially five. They are: number 22 Hweryong, number 14 Kaechon, number 18 Pukchang, number 16 Hwasong, and number 25 Chongjin. No. 14 Kaechon has between 14,000~ 50,000 prisoners, no. 16 Hwasong has ~ 15,000 prisoners, no. 18 Pukchang has ~15,000-68,000 prisoners, no. 22 Hweryong has10,000~50,000 prisoners, and no. 25 Chongjin has 5,000~5,160 prisoners. These numbers vary due to past testimonies but could also less or more today (Database Center for North Korean Human Rights, "Prisoners in North Korea Today."). According to Soon Ok Lee, a survivor from the Kaechon prison camp, testified in court “there are 200,000 political prisoners in North Korea ("A Survivor: Soon Ok Lee," Msnbc.com.) However the number of prisoners according to the State Security Agency ranges around 130,500 people; numbers are hard to predict due to “limited information, relocations, and reorganizations” of prisoners (Database Center for North Korean Human Rights, "Prisoners in North Korea Today.").
The reasons for imprisonment varies. The State Security Agency (SSA) will arrest people according to “anti-state and anti-race” crimes, actions which may dirty the image of the country or its leader. Other types are economic crimes, such as stealing or smuggling, or getting in the way of socialist culture, such as spending money or living luxuriously. (Database Center for North Korean Human Rights, "Prisoners in North Korea Today."). Other reasons for imprisonment include illegal border crossing, criminal crimes, and guilt-by-association ("Political Prison Camps in North Korea Today." Nkdb.com.). Soon Ok Lee stated that “…And I was imprisoned because the North Korean economy was in recession and the supply of materials was not in good condition, that’s why I was imprisoned ” ("A Survivor: Soon Ok Lee." Msnbc.com.). Imprisonment does not depend on whether or not the activity was necessarily illegal, but also depends on the “location of the arrest;” if Kim Jong Il is visiting that location, then an arrest from the SSA is very probable (Database Center for North Korean...

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