How can I join?

Send us an email introducing yourself and come on out to our next meeting or event.

What if I can’t come regularly?

We welcome your participation, big or small.  There are many ways to get involved, some of which you can do from home.  That said, the more time you can commit, the more of a difference you can make.  Oftentimes this doesn’t mean you have to attend every meeting, but you need to be in contact enough to be in the loop — and then you can get things done on your own time.

What if my English/Korean isn’t very good?

Not a problem.

I know the situation in North Korea and for the refugees is horrible.  But what can I, just an individual, do about it?

Whether you volunteer in Seoul with us, or with other organizations, or outside of Korea, there is a big role in this movement for individuals — including you.

Why are foreigners involved in this?  Isn’t this a Korean issue?

Perhaps this only needs to be covered in the Korean language FAQ, but we’ll answer it here nonetheless.  The non-Korean members of JFNK get asked this question by Koreans all the time.

First of all, this is not just a Korean issue, but a human issue.  But for those who still don’t get it, consider the very real international repercussions: refugees from North Korea are in China, other southeast Asian countries, and are resettling in Europe, the U.S., and other countries. (And let’s not forget the thousands who’ve already made it to South Korea, where they’re given automatic citizenship and resettlement support.)

The government of North Korea constantly threatens South Korea, Japan, and the U.S.  North Korea, whether we care to admit it or not, demands international attention.  But in giving it our attention, we must always first and foremost focus on ending the suffering of the people there.  Too often, the real people of North Korea are lost in the concerns over nuclear weapons and the media coverage of the country and are ignored by our politicians.

You support North Korean human rights, so you must be conservative/liberal, right?

Our members have very different political backgrounds and beliefs but we are united in our belief that human rights must be central in our approach to North Korea (and its enabler, China).

Actually, our foreigner members — even after learning about Korea’s recent history under military dictatorships — are very confused by the fact that this issue is not being addressed by the Left in Korea.  We believe politics should not get in the way of human rights.  If human rights (as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) are important for South Koreans, these same basic rights are important for North Koreans.  South Korean dictators, North Korean dictators — dictators in ANY flavor — are bad and abuse human rights and must be vigorously opposed.

North Korean Human Rights = Reunification, which will be expensive, so I think that’s bad.

If you are motivated only by self-interest, please realize that your neighbors having human rights is most definitely in your own best interest.  This is because, as Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov said, governments that are a threat to their own people will always be a threat to their neighbors.  In other words, there can be no long-term peace and security on the Korean peninsula until both halves of it have governments that respect and represent their citizens.