Please help me urge North Korea to confirm the fate of my father and return him to South Korea!
On December 11, 1969, my father went on a domestic business trip on a Korean Airlines (KAL) flight. Soon after takeoff, his plane was hijacked by a North Korean agent and forcibly taken to North Korea.
There is not a single reason in this world that my father should remain forcibly detained in North Korea. But for 48 years, my family and I were forced to endure the pain of this cruel separation.
There are two reasons for my family’s suffering.
One reason is that the North Korean government has committed an act of international abduction and is refusing to admit the truth.
Another reason is our collective failure to respond to North Korea’s criminal behavior and to demand my father’s release. Our own inaction has served to legitimize North Korea’s criminal action.
All this is coming back to haunt us, creating an endless list of new victims.
One such person on this list is the late Mr. Otto Warmbier, a young American who tragically lost his life.
When I turned 34 years old, I began searching for ways to get my father back. Now, I am 50.
For the past 16 years, I have fought alone, doing everything I could think of to break the silence surrounding my father’s abduction. I never gave up hope that there were people out there willing to listen to the call of justice, and that a day would come when they will hear my voice. But for so many years, no one heard my message.
But then, I witnessed a miracle. In March 2016, I met TNKR, and they helped me create “TEAM HWANG,” a group of volunteers committed to help me raise awareness about my father’s abduction. And on May 30, 2017, the UN Human Rights Chief highlighted my father’s case in his annual report, shining a renewed light on the pain and suffering of my family.
The UN report has shown the world that my father’s abduction is very much a present-day and ongoing case of a serious human rights violation.
With this renewed focus, I plan to:
(1) call out to the world about the serious human rights violation related to the 1969 KAL hijacking incident; and
(2) demand my father’s ‘repatriation’ under the rules of international law and humanitarian principles.
Raising international awareness is the key to sending a strong message to the North Korean government that they must ‘confirm’ the fate of my father and ‘repatriate’ him to South Korea.
I humbly ask you to support my efforts to reach out to the international community.
Your support will empower me to raise international awareness about my father’s case, which is the key to bringing my father home.
Thank you very much.
* Representative, KAL Abductees' Repatriation Committee (KALARC)
* TNKR Fellow in Human Dignity