Dying for Rights

Putting North Korea’s Human Rights Abuses on the Record

Sandra Fahy

Columbia University Press

Dying for Rights

Pub Date: September 2019

ISBN: 9780231176347

392 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $35.00£30.00

Pub Date: September 2019

ISBN: 9780231548991

392 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£30.00

Dying for Rights

Putting North Korea’s Human Rights Abuses on the Record

Sandra Fahy

Columbia University Press

North Korea’s human rights violations are unparalleled in the contemporary world. In Dying for Rights, Sandra Fahy provides the definitive account of the abuses committed by the North Korean state, domestically and internationally, from its founding to the present.

Dying for Rights scrutinizes North Korea’s treatment of its own people as well as foreign nationals, how violations committed by the state spread into the international realm, and how North Korea uses its state media and presence at the United Nations. Fahy meticulously documents the extent of arbitrary detention, torture, executions, and the network of prison camps throughout the country. The book details systematic and widespread violations of freedom of speech and of movement, freedom from discrimination, and the rights to food and to life. Fahy weaves together public and private testimonies from North Koreans resettled abroad, as well as NGO reports, the stories and facts brought to light by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry into North Korea, and North Korea’s own state media, to share powerful personal narratives of human rights abuses. A compassionate yet objective investigation into the factors that sustain and perpetuate the flouting of basic rights, Dying for Rights reveals the profound culpability of the North Korean state in the systematic denial of human dignity.
Dying for Rights is an exhaustive and important account of the human rights abuses that the Kim regime has inflicted on the North Korean people over decades, from the quotidian to the horrific. With her deep knowledge and her anthropological approach, augmented by her obvious compassion for the victims of this regime, Sandra Fahy has provided the basis for one day holding Kim Jong Un to account. A must-read. Anna Fifield, author of The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un
The story of North Korean human rights abuses has been difficult to tell because so much of the problem remains shrouded by the state, with nameless and faceless victims. Fahy remedies this malady with a beautifully written and human story of human rights abuses in North Korea that takes us beyond hard-to-obtain statistics. Victor Cha, D. S. Song-KF Professor of Government, Georgetown University and former National Security Council director for Japan and Korea affairs
North Korea is a tragic symphony full of discordant themes. Famine. Surveillance. Detention. Oppression. Regimentation. Desperation. Suicide. Escape. These stories were told in the report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2014. Five years later, the tragedy continues. Dying for Rights confirms and expands the melancholy and frightening stories presented in 2014. This serious chronicle calls our distracted attention back to the human themes to which we must respond. Somber, compelling, and unrelenting chords from a dangerous land of ‘endless winter’ that still awaits the arrival of the sun. Michael Kirby, chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights Violations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, 2013-2014
Sandra Fahy's Dying for Rights is a riveting and comprehensive account of the worst human rights violations occurring in the contemporary world. Fahy addresses the Kim regime's draconian coercion, control, surveillance, and punishment, and the plight of North Koreans crushed by a deliberate policy of human rights denial. She scrutinizes the lives of North Koreans abused and exploited at home and abroad. She addresses all themes relevant to understanding the North Korean human rights crisis, from political prison camps to refugees and laborers officially dispatched overseas to work under abysmal conditions. She sheds light on the dynamics of the North Korean escapee community. Fahy illuminates a new dimension of evidence collected by the UN Commission of Inquiry by transcending legal analysis and looking at escapee testimony through an anthropological lens. Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Descent
Part I: The Crimes
1. The History of Human Rights Violations in North Korea
2. Famine and Hunger
3. Discrimination and Religious Persecution
4. Information Control
5. Forbidding the Foreign
6. Control of Movement
7. Prison Camps, Torture, and Execution
8. Exporting Rights Violations
Part II: The Denials
9. From the Mouths of Foreign Nationals
10. The State News Strikes Back
11. North Korea’s Rhetoric of Denial at the United Nations
12. Broadcasting Denial
Conclusion: Ascent
Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Sandra Fahy is associate professor of anthropology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and the Graduate Program in Global Studies at Sophia University in Tokyo. She is also the author of Marching Through Suffering: Loss and Survival in North Korea (Columbia, 2015).