Entire border patrol unit in North Hamgyong Province placed into quarantine following “paratyphoid” outbreak Time to Step Up in Kidnapping Cases News There are signs that North Korea is running into serious difficulties with its corn harvest “In 1969, when I was 2 years old, my father on KAL flight YS-11 bound for Gimpo Airport was kidnapped and taken to North Korea. This led to my mother developing Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and Paranoid Personality Disorder, after which my mother and I became known as ‘the crazy lady and her son’.”The president of Association for Family Members of the KAL Kidnapping Victims, Hwang In Cheol told the story of the painful childhood he experienced at a forum hosted today by Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights entitled ‘Trends and Strategies to Internationalize the Issue of Civilian Kidnappings’…“During my childhood, I was always hearing loud fighting sounds outside, and inevitably my mother would be at the root of it,” Hwang said. “Even I was unable to understand my mother. People would stare at her coldly as she went around desperately appealing to people. I wasn’t able to escape the glares, either.The fear my mother felt, her sense of loss gradually turned into an obsession with her son. It meant extremely violent punishment when I failed to live up to her expectations, punishment she said was out of ‘maternal love’, and I ended up in hospital a couple of times as a result.Because of my mother’s obsessions I was never able to learn some of the basic things people should learn growing up. All of the tiny things people take for granted like playing with friends, catching a train, swimming, mountain-climbing, travelling and so forth were too dangerous in my mother’s eyes. She lived in fear that someone was going to snatch me away.”There were 46 passengers and 4 crew on-board Korean Air Flight YS-11 from Gangneung to Seoul when it was hijacked and redirected to North Korea on December 11th, 1969. The international community criticized the kidnapping and demanded the release of all the passengers and crew.In response, North Korea returned 39 people 66 days later, on February 14th, 1970. None of the 11 who remained have ever been returned to South Korea. The South Korean government estimates that there are 517 victims of kidnapping who have not been returned to South Korea since the July 1953 armistice, including the 11 people on-board the KAL flight.The fight to get these people back is being carried on with great dilligence by family members of the victims and civic groups, but efforts at the government level have been repeatedly criticized for their inadequacy. Today’s forum offered a chance for participants to discuss political and legal concepts that could help return the victims alive. Among the constructive proposals offered, Professor Park Jeong Won from Kookmin University’s College of Law talked about a proposal to link the return of kidnapping victims with aid.Professor Park stated, “We need to shake off this passive mentality in which we include kidnapping victims within the scope of separated families, and (merely) promote the inclusion of these people in organized family reunions where all they can do is check that their family members are still alive.”“We need to induce North Korea to take genuine measures regarding the kidnapping victims while still promoting unconditional humanitarian aid,” Park continued, emphasizing also, “Considering that the kidnapping issue cannot possibly be over when the (government’s) Kidnapping Victims Compensation and Support Review Committee winds up, we need to extend the working committee so it can consider other issues.”Park also called for compensation to include persons kidnapped in third countries or who died while being kidnapped or in the process of being returned to South Korea, and said that it would advisable to abolish the three year time limit for victims’ families to apply for support. SHARE Facebook Twitter RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR News News By Mok Yong Jae – 2011.09.19 10:01pm Mok Yong Jae News North Korea tries to accelerate building of walls and fences along border with China
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