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North Korea: Unacknowledged detention / fear for safety / health concern: Hwang Sung Kuk, aged 20, Hwang Sung San, aged 18, Hwang Sung Chon, aged 16

, Index number: ASA 24/007/1995

The whereabouts of the three brothers named above, forcibly returned to North Korea from China in June 1995, are unknown. AI is concerned for their safety and believes they may be prisoners of conscience. Their forcible return and detention may be connected to their father's public criticism of the human rights situation in North Korea.

EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 24/07/95
UA 211/95 Unacknowledged detention / Fear for safety /
Health concern 5 September 1995
DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA (DPRK, North Korea):
Hwang Sung Kuk, aged 20
Hwang Sung San, aged 18
Hwang Sung Chon, aged 16
The whereabouts of the three brothers named above, forcibly returned to North
Korea from the People's Republic of China in June 1995, are unknown. Amnesty
International is gravely concerned for their safety and believes that they
may be prisoners of conscience. Their forcible return and detention may be
connected to their father's public criticism of the human rights situation
in North Korea.
Hwang Sung Kuk, Hwang Sung San and Hwang Sung Chon were reportedly summoned
to report to the Foreign Affairs Office of the Public Security Bureau in Beijing
on 1 June, where they were interrogated for three days. The reasons for this
interrogation are not clear. The brothers were reportedly told they could
leave the Public Security office after three days, but instead they were sent
to the city of Sinuiju, in the north-western part of North Korea. According
to one source, the Public Security Office in Beijing summoned the brothers
to report to the office on North Korea's request, because of their father's
criticism of the human rights situation in North Korea (see below). There has
not been any news from the three brothers since they were transported to Sinuiju.
The youngest brother, Hwang Sung Chon, was reportedly suffering from diarrhoea
but not given any medication. Amnesty International is concerned about his
health.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The brothers were all born in North Korea, but are believed to have no citizenship
at present. They were living in Beijing with residence permits issued by the
Foreign Affairs Office of the Public Security Bureau in Beijing.
Their father, Hwang Yong Su, was imprisoned in North Korea, possibly as a
prisoner of conscience and moved to Beijing in 1992, after his release. In
1994 Mr Hwang visited Japan and gave several interviews and press conferences
criticizing the human rights situation in North Korea. During this visit three
men, believed to be linked to the North Korean security service, reportedly
broke into Mr Hwang's hotel room and threatened him with a knife, telling him
not to talk about human rights in North Korea.
North Korea is one of the most closed countries in the world. Amnesty
International is concerned that there may be thousands of prisoners held for
political reasons in poor conditions and some may have been ill-treated. It
is also concerned that the death penalty, including public executions, continues
to be used. In May 1995 North Korean officials told Amnesty International that
there are a total of 1,000 prisoners in North Korea, including some 240 held
for "anti-state" activities.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
English, Korean or your own language:
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- urging the authorities to account for the whereabouts of the three brothers,
Hwang Sung Kuk, Hwang Sung San and Hwang Sung Chon, and to clarify the reasons
for their detention;
- calling for them to be immediately and unconditionally released and allowed
to return to the People's Republic of China, unless they are to be promptly
charged with recognizably criminal offences in accordance with international
human rights standards;
- seeking assurances that the brothers are being treated in accordance with
international standards for the treatment of detainees, and that they have
adequate access to medical care and legal representation.
APPEALS TO:
1) Kim Jong Il
Worker's Party of the DPRK
Pyongyang
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Telegrams: Kim Jong Il, Pyongyang, North Korea
Salutation: Dear Kim Jong Il
2) Paek Hak Rim
Ministry of Public Security
Pyongyang
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Telegrams: Minister, Public Security, Pyongyang, North Korea
Salutation: Dear Minister
3) Mr Pak Dok Hun
Counsellor
The Office of the Permanent Mission of the DPRK to the UN
1 Chemin de Plonjou
1207 Geneva
Switzerland
Faxes: +41 22 786 0662
Salutation: Dear Counsellor
4) Mr Dak Gil Yon
DPRK Permanent Representative to the UN
515 East 72nd Street, 38-F,
New York
NY 10021, USA
Faxes: +1 212 772 0735
Salutation: Dear Mr Dak Gil Yon
COPIES TO:
Professor Sim Hyong Il
President
Institute for the research of human rights
PO Box 49
Pyongyang
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
and to diplomatic representatives of Democratic People's Republic of Korea
accredited to your country, if there is one in your country.
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PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 29 October 1995.

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