Defector says DMZ activists don’t understand plight of women in North Korea

I do not know Christine Ahn, the woman who organized the “peace march” across the DMZ or her fellow travelers. Nor do I know much about Ahn’s activities, if she claims to be a true feminist, or how much she knows about the situation of women in North Korea.

But speaking as a North Korean woman myself, I do not see how Ahn’s crossing of the DMZ will improve the lives of the women of North Korea or bring peace to a country that is governed by a leadership who despise women.

Along with 200 of my former countrymen and countrywomen, I spoke as a witness to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea. Ahn would do well to read my testimony and those of the women whom she claims to be helping. In our testimonies, we spoke of unspeakable sexual violence, forced abortions and endemic rape. These facts about North Korea ― for that is what they are ― are available for the world to read. I truly hope that Ahn listens to the words of North Korean women before she enters our homeland.

I do not know Christine Ahn. They all tell us that they are feminists and seek peace on the Korean peninsula. Yet not one of these women, who have told us that they are good-intentioned, has any understanding of the plight of women in North Korea.

They say they are doing this for peace and that they will not be used. As they cross the DMZ into a propaganda festival for the North Korean government, I hope that my words cross their minds. I and many North Korean women campaign every single day for the rights of North Korean women ― and we do so without Ahn’s fanfare.

It is us, the North Korean women, who have suffered and we urge the world to listen to our voices.

[CNN Opinion by Jihyun Park, North Korean defector] 

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