Hyunsook Oh Case Study

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When someone voluntarily relinquishes one of their rights in favor of enjoying other rights they were previously denied, who is at fault for the loss of rights? Human rights are indivisible from each other; the loss of one right effects how the individual enjoys all other rights. Consider a North Korean woman, Hyunsook Oh, who voluntarily enters the Chinese black market as a slave to a Chinese farmer, Long Teng, in order to provide food for her family. Can anyone be accountable for her decision to forgo her right to autonomy, and could anyone rightfully liberate her without also liberating her from the hunger she would face when sent back home to North Korea? Is there a way to separate this woman’s right to choose to be sold into slavery…show more content…
First, because Hyunsook Oh is not a true citizen of China, she is not in a place to weigh in on any decisions made about environmental factors that could be affecting her health. Since she is also slave to Long Teng’s sexual desires, she has an increased risk of HIV. With U.S. President Trump’s recent executive order re-instating the “gag rule”, the U.S. will no longer fund international healthcare institutions unless they do not provide abortions and do not talk to their patients about abortions. This could directly impact Hyunsook Oh if she is impregnated or needs other female services. To that end, would Hyunsook Oh be privy to a clinician at all? In the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, a right to health is always mentioned in the context of family planning. Surely Hyunsook Oh would have other health concerns beyond family planning, but as she has sexual duties, the issues surrounding family planning could definitely become a concern. It would be up to Long Teng to establish her healthcare and environment, coming back to her lack of the right to agency in general, perhaps the most obvious right lost as a slave. This one is compromised in Hyunsook Oh’s case because she utilized this right while begging to be sold on the Chinese…show more content…
Outside of the ease of being able to be sold on the Chinese black market, the attractiveness of China compared to North Korea must also be addressed. North Korea never signed the UDHR, but China has signed it, and in fact was one of the countries that drafted it. Therefore, China should know better than to have raids for North Korean refugees, even with Hyunsook Oh’s complicated refugee status. However, China should recognize the rights being violated in North Korea, and international efforts should be made to have North Korea at least demonstrate a desire to provide basic human rights to its citizens, if not actually signing and ratifying the UDHR itself. China could work out some sort of trade deal with North Korea, allowing for food from Chinese farmers to be distributed according to need in North Korea. Of course, the North Korean government would need to agree to a fair distribution of the food it receives, establishing the institutions mentioned in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to offer food for everyone. True refugees, as defined in one of the Conventions of the UDHR, should be allowed to work on Chinese farms without the fear of a loss of a State to call their own, or the loss of their autonomy through slavery. No one should have to choose between rights; all rights should be afforded each person to the best of their country’s ability, and
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