Imagery of Regent people and campus

Center for Global Justice Hosts Summit

By Brett Wilson | November 14, 2013

Photo courtesy of the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.

Unfurling in the regime of North Korea are shocking events meeting at the intersection of a present-day Holocaust and Underground Railroad. Though the traumas evolving within the country are mostly unheard of by the rest of the world, the religious and political persecution taking place in North Korea affects nearly 200,000 people trapped in concentration camps.

Regent University School of Law's Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law explored these human rights abuses during the North Korea Human Rights Summit early in November. Students obtained an inside glance into the tumultuous violations such as torture, starvation, forced abortions, beatings and assaults that take place in the nation every day.

"This is arguably the greatest human rights abuse that's taking place today," said Ernie Walton, administrative director for the Center for Global Justice. "The people are starving; they don't have rights—and the extent of the human rights abuse that is taking place there is absolutely astonishing."

The summit featured a showing of the Korean film, The Crossing, which delves into the hardships many North Koreans are facing as they struggle to flee the country, seeking refuge in South Korea by escaping through China.

The summit also featured expert panelists dedicated to informing the public about the outrageous abuses taking place today. Jae-Chun Won, professor from Handong International Law School in South Korea; Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director for the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK); and Myunghee Um, a North Korean refugee and pastor, shared their personal experiences with students.

Along with the panelists, the issues struck a chord for Regent students. Sarah Drury, School of Law 3L student and head student coordinator of the summit, explained that these human rights challenges spurred her decision to attend law school, so that she may someday advocate for the rights of those who are oppressed.

"I believe that God may enable some of us in the Regent community to actually advocate for North Korean human rights," said Drury. "While this is a very complicated situation that doesn't have an easy answer, the first step to finding a solution is being made aware of the problem's existence."

In addition to bringing awareness to the horrors unraveling in North Korea, the heart of the summit was, according to Walton, to encourage the Christian community to begin intervening, if only by prayer, for their brothers and sisters suffering overseas.

"I pray that they gain hope that God is still moving, and that there are Christians, and others, non-believers, who are fighting for these people," said Walton. "I hope that they were moved, at a minimum, to intercede for the nation of North Korea, for the people there and for our fellow brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for their faith."

Learn more about the School of Law and the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.


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