North Korean refugee Shin Dong-hyuk wins Alison Des Forges Award

November 16, 2014


(Maya Myers Photography)

(Maya Myers Photography)

Human Rights Watch honored North Korean refugee Shin Dong-hyuk, 32, with the Alison Des Forges Award last week.

The Voices for Justice HRW Annual Dinner, held at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, honors “courageous individuals who protect and defend human rights across the globe,” according to HRW.

The prestigious award is named after human rights activist and historian Des Forges.

Shin, who was born in a North Korean prison camp, escaped the country in 2005 and began working as a laborer in China before moving to South Korea. His story, carried in Blaine Harden’s book “Escape From Camp 14,” made global headlines upon its release in 2012.

Since then, he has worked to raise awareness about North Korean human rights by giving speeches around the world.

He said during his speech that he never thought he would be standing in a place like America when he crossed the electric fence to leave the prison camp. He urged attendees to support HRW and his awareness movement so that he can one day become reunited with his father.