Jun 8, 2020
This episode of the Korea Now podcast features an interview that Jed Lea-Henry conducted with Jay Song. They speak about the North Korean defector community, the importance of their voices and activism in applying pressure to the regime in Pyongyang over the country’s human rights violations, how defector-activists form networks, the different niches that they create, the transnational dimensions of these networks, the co-evolution that happens between defectors and NGO’s etc., the North Korean voices that are missing from these mainstream narratives, how defectors are treated by the international community, the risk of manipulation by international-activist communities, and whether some defectors have used their human rights testimony to their own advantage. This discussion will focus on five prominent defector-activists: Kang Chol Hwan, Shin Dong Hyuk, Kim Joo Il, Park Yeon Mi and Park Ji Hyun.
*** Correction: at one point during this interview Jay refers to the number of North Korean defectors in South Korea as 35,000. She would like to correct this to 33,000.
Jay (Jiyoung) Song is a Senior Lecturer in Korean studies at the Asia Institute of the University of Melbourne and Global Ethics Fellow of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York. Prior to her current positions, Jay was the Director of Migration and Border Policy Project at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Singapore Management University, Fellow/Lecturer at the National University of Singapore, Associate Fellow of Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs, London), UN Consultant for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Geneva), and Post-doc Researcher at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society of the University of Oxford . She holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies (Cambridge, UK), LLM in Human Rights (Hong Kong), and BS in Mathematics (Seoul, Korea).
You can follow Jay’s work at https://songjiyoung.wordpress.com/ and pertinent to this podcast she is the author of North Korean secondary asylum in the UK (https://www.academia.edu/36416590/North_Korean_secondary_asylum_in_the_UK), Co-evolution of networks and discourses: a case from North Korean defector-activists (https://www.academia.edu/36415142/Australian_Journal_of_International_Affairs_Co-evolution_of_networks_and_discourses_a_case_from_North_Korean_defector-activists_Jiyoung_Song), The Emergence of Five North Korean Defector-Activists in Transnational Activism (https://www.academia.edu/38027490/The_Emergence_of_Five_North_Korean_Defector-Activists_in_Transnational_Activism).
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