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Posted by Tommy LeDeux on

HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST NOT BY CHOICE: YEONMI PARK’S STORY

Born to a wealthy family in North Korean standards, Yeonmi Park’s father was a civil servant while his mother was a nurse. She was born in Hyesan a town in North Korea in the year 1993. She is fluent in three languages namely English, Chinese and Korean. Ms. Yeonmi Park is a human rights activist and North Korean defector. During the 90s, her family was well recognized, educated and a politically front family. When the North Korea economy collapsed in the 90s, her family resulted to dealing in the black market trade so as to survive the harsh economic times. Due to this, her father was captured and subjected to hard labor. Ms. Yeonmi Park’s life took an immediate drastic turn as they started lacking even the basic needs of life. After the Dad had been released, he urged the family to escape North Korea. Fortunately or unfortunately, Yeonmi Park’s elder sister had already fled to China earlier. Through the help of human traffickers and South Korean officials, Ms. Yeonmi Park, and her mother, escaped to Mongolia then China. Their father later joined them but succumbed to illness and buried him on a mountain to avoid revealing their North Korean Identities.

The 21-year-old later settled with her mother and sister after reuniting in South Korea, where she and her mother hassled between jobs like waitresses and shop assistants. She is currently majoring in Criminal Justice at the Dongguk University. Her rise to fame came when she delivered a moving speech at the One Young World summit in Dublin. She has also told her story of escape from North Korea at the Oslo Freedom Forum. She has found a cause in fighting for the oppressed people in North Korea. Being a volunteer Ambassador of Teach North Korean Refugees Program, she voices her concerns about how oppressive the North Korean leader is. She strongly thinks that Kim Jong-un is a cruel and oppressive person and that he should greatly pay for using his people as puppets. She also strongly believes in a united Korea doing away with the south and north differences. She has hopes that other North Korea defectors will soon join her in the fight for her country.

Ms. Yeonmi Park has done many interviews with media houses and newspapers who all want a fair share of her story, include the NYTimes, Washington post, Radio Free Asia, Guardian, Voice of America and other South Korean TV shows.

She has also been featured by a talk show host of the North Korea Today Podcast which focuses on the North Korean issues faced by its people, their afterlife in escaping the country and other issues which mostly pertain freedom in the country. She also co-hosts for Casey Lartigue and Yeonmi Park show an English show. In South Korea, she is involved in a TV show that tries to lessen the gap between North and South Korea which has always been her dream of the two countries to unite. She is now well recognized for her fight for human rights especially triggered through her personal experience.