The impossible escape from North Korea of Ji Seong-ho

Ji Seong-ho is a North Korean defector who grew up during the country’s terrible famine in the 1990s. In order to survive, Ji would exchange stolen coal for food on the black market.

While taking coal from a train car in 1996, a malnourished Ji lost consciousness and fell onto the tracks, losing his left hand and foot when a train ran over him. After a gruelling amputation surgery, Ji was left to fend for himself.

In 2006, he escaped to South Korea, where he is now a law student at Dongguk University. Ji is also the president of Now Action and Unity for Human Rights, where he helps broadcast information into North Korea and facilitates the resettlement of defectors in South Korea.

This is the short, but incredibly moving, speech he made to this year’s Oslo Freedom Forum:


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