December 28, 2009 09:02
A human rights activist on Friday illegally entered North Korea in an effort to urge the regime to improve the way it treats its people.
Robert Park (28), a Korean American who leads the activist group Freedom and Life 2009, crossed the frozen Duman (or Tumen) River around 5 p.m. and walked in the direction of Hoeryong, North Hamgyong Province, a member of the group told reporters. "I come here as an American citizen to proclaim God's love," the member quoted Park as shouting.
AFP reported Park was carrying a letter urging North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to shut down political concentration camps and improve human rights.
Before entering the North, Park reportedly told colleagues that some 7 million people are starving in North Korea and 250,000 others are dying in concentration camps as a result of ill-treatment and torture, but the international community is silent about their plight. He called on the world to intervene in North Korea based on international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
While admitting that Park illegally crossed the border, the U.S. has reportedly asked the North Korean mission to the UN in New York to confirm he is safe. The State Department made no detailed comment, saying only that the U.S. government gives top priority to protecting American citizens and their wellbeing.
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