International community turns attention towards NK overseas workers

first_img Ordinary Pyongyang residents have not received government rations since mid-April Facebook Twitter News News RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR North Korean workers in transit at Russia’s Vladivostok airport. Image: Daily NK -We’ve heard that dispatched workers have better access to foreign media than people in North Korea. As a result, do you think more foreign workers will try to defect? As long as Kim Jong Un continues to use the politics of fear and overseas workers continue to be exploited, I think that those workers who can access foreign information will continue to make defection attempts. Most of the foreign workers have lived through North Korea’s famine period (in the mid 1990s), so they have more interest in self preservation than they have loyalty towards the regime. The collectivist ethos and patriotism are fading in North Korea. If suppression and exploitation continue, the likelihood of defections will rise. -When overseas workers defect, they often maintain relations with friends and relatives still in North Korea. What kind of influence do they have on North Korean society?  The North Korean authorities will not inform the public that overseas workers are defecting, but the workers themselves will use secret forms of communication to let people know. As rumors spread inside the country about the growing number of defecting workers, public opinion will change. There is also the chance that North Korea will tighten its grip on these workers. That means the screening process will become incredibly strict, ensuring only loyal residents have the chance to work abroad. If that happens, the overall number of workers will likely drop. That means that the number of defectors will also drop. -What role can South Korea and the international community play in terms of influencing these overseas workers? Do you think it is important to conduct more outreach? If more North Korean workers are dispatched abroad, more will defect. Also, the more foreign information and culture that they come into contact with, the greater the effect it will have on them. The consumption of foreign ideas and information helps them to put their own experience in context, and reveals that conditions are better in other countries. This will stir the pot, leading to further disillusionment and defections. That is why I believe it is not the best course of action to dramatically reduce the number of overseas workers. Instead, I think that the experience that these laborers get while abroad is extremely important in terms of producing positive change within North Korean society. So I think we need to work with the ILO and host countries to ensure that the working conditions are brought up to international standards. The international community has developed considerable interest in North Korea’s overseas workers, but this is still a priority for South Korea as well. We need to show interest in improving human rights for North Korea’s workers in order to lay the groundwork for reunification. It seems as if there are some responses inside North Korea to this constant stream of pressure and criticism from the international community. For instance, there have been some slight formal changes to the North Korean constitution and criminal law codes. I think it is South Korea’s duty to lead the charge when it comes to North Korean human rights and the overseas labor problem.  By Daily NK – 2016.11.07 5:49pm SHARE AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] International community turns attention towards NK overseas workers -The lengths that North Korean overseas laborers go to in order to escape is testament to the horrendous treatment they receive at the hands of the North Korean authorities. The miserable conditions that North Korean workers are subject to abroad have been well documented, and they are frequently subject to human rights violations. In recent months, the international community has been renewing its efforts to bring this issue to the fore.    A special investigation by the South Korean government [under the auspice of the recently-passed North Korean Human Rights Act] will be held on November 17 and is tasked with investigating the scale of the problem, the conditions under which the workers live, and the manner in which the North Korean regime controls its workers. To learn more about the issue, we sat down with Jeon Hyeon Jun, Director of the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Institute.The severe human rights abuses that North Korean overseas laborers are subjected to is getting more attention from the international community. In late August this year, a group said to consist of more than ten North Korean workers in Russia succeeded in a group defection by heading to the South Korean consulate general and seeking asylum. We have heard that the escapees are currently on their way to South Korea. Can you tell us a little more about this? That is correct. We have been informed that over ten North Korean laborers fled from Saint Petersburg, Russia, this August. We heard that the team manager led the defection, and that the escapees received assistance from an international human rights organization which facilitated their evacuation to a local safe zone. They are expected to land in South Korea soon. The South Korean government has been involved in facilitating their transport as well. We believe that the workers were assigned to a construction site under the auspices of the “Mokran” North Korean construction company, which employs approximately 150 workers in the region. -How many overseas North Korean laborers are there? We don’t have precise figures. We believe anywhere from 60,000 to 120,000. It is possible that as many as 200,000 are dispatched abroad. -What function do these workers serve for the regime? The North Korean regime needs foreign currency. They have previously engaged in munitions sales, sales of illicit drugs, and counterfeiting to earn cash, but these enterprises are not as successful these days. So the regime has turned to exporting its people to earn cash. It is assumed that the regime accepts the fact that a minority of the workers will defect, and has deemed this an acceptable risk. -We’ve heard that North Korean overseas workers live in terrible conditions. Can you elaborate on this? They reportedly work for approximately 12 to 16 hours per day. The fixed work shift is 8 hours, but this is extended to increase revenue for the regime. They are also forced to work on weekends, and the abysmal conditions really are a form of slave labor. They are paid $1,000 a month in some instances, but 90% of that is confiscated by the state in the form of forced bribes and so-called “loyalty funds.” The remaining sum is often sent home to the family, so the workers have a very difficult time making ends meet. They have very little freedom to move about, and if they do go out, they must go in pairs and are held responsible for their partner. -Such harsh conditions no doubt contribute to many of the workers contemplating defection. Can you tell us a bit more about the recent Russian group defection? That is absolutely correct. The reasons that they defect include lack of freedom, the difficulty of the work, health problems, and the terrible working conditions. The fact that such a large proportion of their paycheck goes to the regime is another major source of frustration. The workers are also forced to contribute to various other causes. For example, they were subject to a compulsory donation of $100-150 for the Tumen flood relief effort. These kinds of practices cause a lot of grief among the workers. Furthermore, once the workers are abroad, they have more access to information than they have ever had. In particular, each team leader has a cellphone, making it quite easy for them to access foreign media. We’ve learned that Russian police are not very keen on apprehending North Koreans. The recent defection from Russia involved a team of workers, and it’s likely that the team leader decided to defect because he was worried that he would be blamed for something. Since 2012, it appears that the regime has not done a very good job of vetting candidates for foreign work. Normally, those sent abroad are supposed to be ideologically pure, but it appears that people are now able to bribe their way into these overseas labor programs. -The fact that ten workers defected as a group is pretty remarkable. Logistically, it must have been quite difficult for them to organize and communicate. How do you think they managed to succeed? The fact that the team leader accompanied the group is an important element to this. The team leader has access to information and language skills. He also has access to the team members’ passports. A team leader was also involved in the group defection in China that occurred in April. -Recently, the U.S. and the international community has been focusing attention on foreign laborers more than ever before. What is drawing this interest? The list is long. It includes the poor conditions, the forced labor, and the human rights abuses. The fact that the regime is repossessing their wages is also an object of contention for the international community, because there have been a number of reports indicating that the regime is using these funds to help finance its weapons of mass destruction. That is why there are an increasing number of people voicing the need to regulate or limit the number of foreign workers. -Have you noticed any significant changes as a result of this attention from the global community? Countries all over the world – including Russia, Nepal, Malta and Tanzania – are importing North Korean laborers. The following governments have recently deported North Korean workers: Malta (10 workers), Russia (14), and Nepal (53). Tanzania recently closed two North Korean hospitals that were selling fake medicines to patients. By refusing to extend visas and re-sign contracts, these governments are effectively deporting workers and cancelling programs. Since North Korea is not a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) or other international bodies, it is difficult to target the government directly with sanctions. So instead, the international community has been approaching the host countries and highlighting the terrible working conditions that the workers are subject to. -The South Korean government said that it will release a report on human rights abuses of North Korean overseas workers. Do you think this report will have any effect? North Korea is very much aware of the international community’s actions. After years of pointing out these shortfalls and criticizing these abuses, it appears that North Korea is coming under pressure. Our strategy is to continue to emphasize the abhorrent conditions and hope that governments with the power to make a difference will take heed. With this strategy in mind, the newly created Center for Investigation & Documentation on Human Rights in North Korea will begin its operations. It was created under the South Korean government’s North Korean Human Rights Act. The center will research and record human rights violations against North Korean residents and overseas workers alike. The government has specifically stated that overseas workers will be reported on. In doing so, South Korea is seeking to align with the international community and bring about lasting change. Our Foreign Affairs Minister Yun Byung Se has strongly argued that North Korea’s use of foreign labor is tantamount to human rights abuse. It will be too challenging to investigate all of these sites directly, so I think for the road ahead we will need to partner with the host countries in order to conduct this research. -What is the preferred methodology for this kind of research? We need to partner with the governments who are using North Korean labor and consult with NGOs. We need to find out how the workers are being treated, whether they are being exploited, and how they are being paid. We need to work towards a system in which the workers are paid directly. It would also be ideal if their work sites were monitored by police and regulated by agencies to ensure a safe workplace and humane treatment in accordance with international labor laws. All of these efforts require diplomatic coordination.  Daily NK’s special correspondence team traveled to the Ussuriysk region near Vladivostok, Russia, and found North Korean laborers hard at work at a construction site. Image: Daily NK Hamhung man arrested for corruption while working at a state-run department store News News North Korea Market Price Update: June 8, 2021 (Rice and USD Exchange Rate Only)last_img read more

Executive Director, Baker Center for Excellence (Temporary)

first_imgAbout Montgomery County CommunityCollegeFor more than 55 years, Montgomery County Community College hasgrown with the community to meet the evolving educational needs ofMontgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includesmore than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well ascustomized workforce training and certifications. Students enjoythe flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses inBlue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute inLansdale, and online through a robust Virtual Campus. Montgomery County Community College invitesapplications for the Executive Director, Baker Center forExcellence position. The Executive Director is responsiblefor leadership, implementation, and oversight of the operations ofThe Baker Center for Excellence of Employee Ownership and BusinessTransformation (ESOP). The Executive Director is an advocate forEmployee ownership in the community and works closely withexecutives, professionals, and employers as well as engage withpartner institutions, instructors and students to bolster theemployer-employee dynamic in innovative ways. *This is a temporary funded position and is contingent uponfuture funding. Following Governor Wolf’s announcement onMarch 30, 2020 the selected candidate will work remotely untilfurther notice.  As the College re-opens the campuses, theselected candidate will transition to on-campus work. Thisposition has college-wide responsibilities that require travelbetween campuses and to offsite locations. The primary officelocation is the Blue Bell campus.   Montgomery County Community College offers acomprehensive curriculum of more than 100 degree and certificateprograms, a Virtual Campus, a Culinary Arts Institute, a MunicipalPolice Academy, and specialized workforce development programs, allof which leverage the College’s nationally ranked use of innovativetechnology. An Achieving the Dream (AtD) Leader College ofDistinction, the institution is positioned at the vanguard ofnational efforts to increase completion, improve learning outcomes,and remove barriers to access for more than 19,000 studentsannually. The College is also recognized regionally and nationallyfor its sustainability leadership, work with military veterans, andcommunity service and service learning opportunities. MontgomeryCounty Community College has been named as one of the top 60employers for 2019 in Pennsylvania by Forbes and as one of the MostPromising Places to Work in Community Colleges in the nation forfour consecutive years by the National Institute for Staff andOrganizational Development (NISOD) for its commitment to diversitythrough inclusive learning and work environments, student and staffrecruitment and retention practices, and meaningful communityservice and engagement opportunities. Visit or join us onTwitter @mccc. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College of Distinction, theinstitution is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts toremove barriers to access, improve learning outcomes, and increasecompletion for all students. The College also is recognizedregionally and nationally for its sustainability leadership, workwith military veterans, community service and service learningopportunities, and use of classroom technology. For the fourthconsecutive year, MCCC has been named one of the Most PromisingPlaces to Work in Community Colleges in the nation by the NationalInstitute for Staff and Organizational Development for itscommitment to diversity through inclusive learning and workenvironments, student and staff recruitment and retentionpractices, and meaningful community service and engagementopportunities. For more information, visit Qualifications:Essential Knowledge & SkillsEducation/Training/Work ExperienceBachelor’s degree in Business, Management, Economics,Organizational Leadership or related field required. Master’sdegree preferredSuccessful track record with At least five years of workexperience in senior leadership in business, education, ornon-profitFinancial management experience preferredPublic speaking and event organization experienceExperience in funding development and community outreachExperience as an entrepreneur or leadership in ESOP companypreferredHigher Education leadership or management experience within aprogram or center (preferred)center_img Apply online: For the complete job descriptionand to apply for this position, please visit date for applications is 3/28/2021. Executive Director, Baker Center forExcellenceBlue Bell & Pottstown, PA Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) has a stronginstitutional commitment to diversity and is dedicated toexcellence through diversity in education and employment. MCCC, anEEO Employer, provides equal employment and educationalopportunities to all who are qualified. In keeping with theCollege’s diversity initiative, MCCC seeks and welcomesapplications from diverse candidates, those who have hadmulticultural experience, and those who can demonstrate acommitment to diversity. Specialized Knowledge & SkillsDemonstrated administrative, entrepreneurial and organizationalskills.Knowledge of and Ability to communicate the benefits ofemployer-employee partnerships to stakeholdersExcellent written and oral communication skillsExcellent interpersonal skills – ability to work well withAdministration, Faculty, Students, Staff, Board, benefactor(s),external Business Community, and other stakeholdersCreative problem-solving skillsDemonstrated team-building and leadership skillsAbility to prioritize multiple tasks and complete projects in afast-paced environmentSolid knowledge and skills with Microsoft® Office and othercomputer softwareCreate and conduct effective presentationsProficiency with Internet to use as resource, research, andcommunication toolSpeak effectively to both large and small groups of people –live, recorded, remoteEmbrace and advocate the Center’s and College’s respectivemission, vision, and strategic planRelationship building capability/Networking with externalstakeholderslast_img read more

Egypt signs exploration deals with three oil firms

first_imgEgyptian government has signed exploration agreements with three oil companies this week, which is expected to attract a $265 million investment to the country.The three companies involved are Petroceltic from Ireland, UAE’s Dana Gas and Edison from Italy.  According to a statement made by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, the companies will drill a minimum of 8 exploration wells.Under the agreement, the companies will explore for oil and gas in the Mediterranean sea, the Gulf of Suez and the Nile Delta.Energy minister Sharif Ismail said that in order to increase its oil production and develop more reserves, Egypt would continue inviting bids from international oil companies for new leases.He added that these contracts will make the investment climate in Egypt more attractive for international oil companies, which will lead to increased level of exploration activities. [mappress]Offshore Energy Today Staff, February 14, 2014last_img read more

Clarke presses on with judges’ pension cut

first_imgThe lord chancellor has confirmed government plans to cut judges’ pensions to bring them in line with other public sector workers. In a written ministerial statement yesterday Kenneth Clarke said that the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne had confirmed to the House that the government would take forward legislation to introduce changes to pension schemes for the NHS, teachers and civil servants. Clarke said: ‘I have been considering the necessary reforms of the judicial pension scheme [JPS] in line with these wider public service pension reforms.’ He said: ‘The JPS is a critical element of the remuneration offered to the judiciary. Nevertheless we must ensure that the pensions provided are fair, sustainable and affordable.’ Accordingly, he said he has written to the heads of the judiciary setting out proposals that ‘will ensure that the pension provision for judges compares fairly with that offered to others in the public service’. Clarke said the changes will also meet government ‘expectations for reform’ and that he will be discussing the matter with the judiciary over the summer. The move follows the recommendations made by Lord Hutton in his report on public service pensions, published in March last year. Hutton said there needed to be ‘comprehensive reform’ balancing the legitimate concerns of taxpayers about the cost of public service pensions with the wider need to ensure decent levels of retirement income for public service workers. His main recommendation was to replace existing final salary pension schemes with career average schemes. From April this judges have for the first time been required to contribute towards their pension, at the rate of 1.28% of their salary. A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: ‘We are developing proposals to reform judicial pensions so they are fairer to the taxpayer and consistent with wider public sector pension change.’ A spokesman at the Judicial Communications Office said discussions between the lord chancellor and the lord chief justice are ongoing, and that he could not comment further at this time. Meanwhile part-time judges have come a step closer to receiving pensions following a preliminary judgment from the Supreme Court in the case of retired recorder Dermod O’Brien against the MoJ. As a part-time judge, paid a fee rather than the salary received by full-time judges, O’Brien was not given a pension when he retired. He challenged the position, arguing that under EU law as a ‘worker’ he should be entitled to a pension. The MoJ claims that recorders are not entitled to the same pension rights as full-time judges as they work part-time and they are paid a ‘fee’ rather than a ‘salary’. In March, the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of O’Brien and returned the matter to the Supreme Court. In light of the European court’s ruling, the Supreme Court gave a preliminary ruling that O’Brien was a part-time worker. A further hearing in November will clarify what issues will go back to be determined by the employment tribunal.last_img read more

Ali Sow: Criticize me, I accept it! CSKA has only one…

first_imgCSKA striker Ali Sow got into rhythm. After scoring for Levski, the Gambian scored today – in the door of Botev (Plovdiv).“It was a difficult match, but we were very well prepared. I want to score in every match. I don’t have to bow my head. I have to work hard and the result will come. I accept to be criticized. I do not take it personally.In the final we have only one option – to win. We have to score goals and win.It’s good that there were so many supporters. I hope it will be the same in the future, “said Ali Sow after the match. Happy Milos Kruscic: I told you – you can count on us! This is CSKA!“I knew Botev’s strengths”last_img