Are North Koreans Becoming Aware of the Concept of Human Rights?

Growing up in North Korea, I was not familiar with “human rights.” It wasn’t that I was just unaware of what it meant. I didn’t even know the concept existed. I hadn’t heard the phrase. This was not just ignorance on my part or among my friends and family members. I’ve found since escaping North Korea that, with the exception of a few elite defectors, none of us knew. We all lived without knowing what human rights were.

Enforced Silence

“We stay silent not because our life is good enough, but to survive.”  This was my response to a question from a member of the audience during my lecture on North Korea, who asked, “Aren’t the people of North Korea not protesting and staying silent because their life is good enough?”

To survive in North Korea, rules 1, 2, and 3 are “Watch your mouth.”