October 2015 report on Burma & North Korea



  • We wrote 18 letters last month and 38 this month.
  • I am very pleased to say that the Supreme Court in India has ordered that the two sisters who were to be raped are now to be protected and two al Jazeera journalists have been freed in Egypt and 11 more prisoners of conscience in Burma have been freed as well as Ta Phong Tan, the Vietnamese blogger about whom we wrote in July.
  • North Korea has released the South Korean student Won Moon about whom we wrote in August, all as a direct result of us writing these letters.


  • There is now just under a month’s build up to the elections on 8th November and, despite my reporting above 11 being released, nevertheless many activists and journalists are still being imprisoned and we will be writing letters this month for five of them as well as our ongoing campaign on behalf of the Unity Five journalists.
  • Reported in the paper this week a poll has the NLD winning the elections, despite the Army reserving 25% of the seats in parliament, and Aung San Suu Kyi has said that, should they win, then she would become Prime Minister rather than the President (which is not allowed under the unchanged Constitution). Not sure of the significance of these two positions under their system, but it sounds like a plan.

North Korea: 

  • Chinese enterprises are actively opening up to North Korea along with Germany, Romania and 10 other countries who all attended a Trade Fair in Pyongyang last month.
  • Nearly 400 people died from torrential rain in North Hamgyong Province which is 10 times the figure officially announced by the government.
  • Similar agriculture reforms to that of China in 70’s from 2012 to a household responsibility system produced encouraging results producing the best harvest in 25years in 2013 while in 2014 it was even better despite serious drought.

Wendy Hughes 
Burma & N.Korea Co-Ordinator
October, 2015


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