HRW.org Donate! Default

Camp 14 - Total Control Zone

Camp 14 – Total Control Zone is a fascinating portrait of a young man who grew up imprisoned by dehumanizing violence yet still found the will to escape. Born inside a North Korean prison camp as the child of political prisoners, Shin Dong-Huyk was raised in a world where all he knew was punishment, torture, and abuse. Filmmaker Marc Wiese crafts his documentary by quietly drawing details from Shin in a series of interviews in which Shin's silence says as much as his words. Weaving anecdotes from a former camp guard and a member of the secret police with powerful animated scenes capturing key moments in Shin's life, Wiese pulls audiences into Shin's world. Shin escapes and becomes a human rights 'celebrity,' but as we see, his life outside the camp is often just as challenging as it was inside it. Courtesy of Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment in the UK. Official Selection Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival 2012 and Toronto International Film Festival 2012

North Korea operates a network of political prison camps known as gwa-li-so, a word that strikes fear in North Koreans who know that the brutal forced labour, near-starvation rations, and abuse by prison guards means that being sent there is akin to a death sentence. With research based on testimonies of Shin and others who have managed to flee the country, Human Rights Watch is campaigning to establish a United Nations commission of inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity taking place in the gwa-li-so and other detention centres in the country.