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Public Statements

North Korean Gulags

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, last week, I had the privilege of meeting Shin Dong-hyuk, the only known defector to have escaped from one of the many concentration camps operated by the Communist government in North Korea.

He was born in the camp and faced starvation, torture, and brainwashing on a routine basis, which is described in the book, ``Escape From Camp 14.'' On the same day, the authorities executed both his brother and his mother in front of him for attempting to plan an escape. He knew nothing of the outside world, only living day to day, doing whatever was needed to survive. Heartbreakingly, this included informing the guards when he heard about his family's escape plan. Years later, a new prisoner came to the camp from Pyongyang, and Shin began to learn about the outside world and then began to long to escape.

By some estimates, as many as 200,000 people are held in the brutal gulags like Shin. As we negotiate with the gangster government of North Korea over their nuclear weapons program, we cannot forget about these human rights atrocities perpetrated against millions of their own people.

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