She was the only North Korean to come to Dublin, Ireland, for the One Young World summit at the National Convention Centre last week.
Now 21, Yeonmi Park was 13 when she escaped North Korea – the notorious Hermit Kingdom – with her mother after her father, a member of the ruling Workers’ Party, was charged with doing “illegal business” with Chinese dealers across the border.
With tears in her eyes, Park revealed the horrors of living in the world’s most mysterious nation to the delegates at the conference, describing it as another “holocaust” the world chooses to ignore.
"North Koreans are being terrorized. When I was growing up, I never saw anything about love stories... There is no Romeo and Juliet,” she stated.
Park shared how she witnessed, at 9, her mother's friend publicly executed. Her crime? Watching South Korean and Hollywood films and lending the DVDs to friends.
In a separate interview with Al Jazeera, Park revealed how a majority of North Korean population suffers from severe food crisis.
Her claim is similar to the damning news articles from last year about famine giving rise to cannibalism in North Korea – parents who were eating their own children and dead bodies – started to emerge.
According to one informant from the western province of South Hwanghae who spoke to The Sun on the condition of anonymity, a man who “killed his own two children and tried to eat them was executed by a firing squad.”
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) prepared a report on DPRK’s food crisis in April. It stated "around 6 million people in Korea don’t have enough to eat, and nearly a million of them are children under 5."
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Park now works as a human rights activist in South Korea, raising awareness of the plight of the North Korean people.
Watch her moving speech in the video above.