Tim A. Peters

Tim A. Peters

The Rev. Timothy A. Peters, an American humanitarian aid worker living in Seoul, South Korea, operates Helping Hands Korea, [cite web|url = http://web.archive.org/web/20070403104942/http://www.familycare.org/network/p01.htm|title = Helping Hands Korea|work = Family Care Foundation|accessdate = 2006-07-09] a part of the Family Care Foundation, [cite web|url = http://www.familycare.org/whatwedo/about.htm|title = About Family Care Foundation|work = Family Care Foundation|accessdate = 2006-07-09] and is widely regarded as one of the world's most visible advocates for human rights in North Korea. It should be noted that his fundraising activities are not vetted. And that unlike most reputable charitable institutions no accounting is given for any finances funneled through his fundraising activities.

Peters originally came to Korea in 1975 and soon became an opponent of South Korea's military dictatorship. The military regime of President Chun Doo-hwan later expelled him from South Korea for handing out anti-government leaflets. He returned to South Korea in the late 1980s. Later, when North Korea's disfavored classes were struck by a famine that ultimately killed an estimated 2.5 million people, [cite web|url = http://www.korealiberator.org/2001/11/26/defining-genocide-down/|title = Defining Genocide Down |work=The Korea Liberator |date=2001-11-26 |accessdate=2006-07-09] Peters established the Ton a Month Club to help feed the North Korean people. He founded Helping Hands Korea in 1996, and later became an activist in the "underground railroad," helping North Korean refugees to escape to South Korea or other countries via China. Peters claims to have personally participated in some of these clandestine missions inside China.cite web |url=http://www.time.com/time/asia/covers/501060501/story.html/ |title=Long Walk to Freedom |work=TIMEasia Magazine |date=2006-04-24 |accessdate=2007-08-21] As it was (and is) the policy of the Chinese government that the North Koreans were in fact economic migrants, they could be arrested as such. Those helping them were arrested under Chinese "anti-human trafficking" laws, and often subjected to lengthy detentions in Chinese jails. The refugees would be deported back to North Korea, which considers defection to be a capital offense. China's policy has been criticized often, for example, by the U.N. Special Rapporteur Vitit Muntarbhorn in a 2005 report that described the North Korean escapees as "refugees "sur place"," [ [http://www.antislavery.org/homepage/resources/PDF/Full%20Korea%20report%202005.pdf AntiSlavery.org: Full Korea 2005 Report] ] putting the official and "de facto" Chinese position at odds with its "de jure" obligations under the 1951 Convention on Refugees, [ [http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/v1crs.htm Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, 189 U.N.T.S. 150, entered into force April 22, 1954 ] ] which China signed 24 September 1982. [ [http://www.unhcr.org/protect/PROTECTION/3b73b0d63.pdf Microsoft Word - 1951 Refugee Conv+Prot.doc ] ]

Peters was featured in the CNN documentary "Undercover in the Secret State" [cite news |url=http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/asiapcf/11/13/nkorea.hiddenvideo/ |title=Video shows executions, life inside North Korea |publisher=CNN |date=2005-11-14 |accessdate=2006-07-09] [cite web |url=http://www.korealiberator.org/2005/11/14/undercover-in-the-secret-state-must-viewing/ |title=Undercover in the Secret State |work=The Korea Liberator |date=2005-11-14 |accessdate=2006-07-09] in 2005. He testified about human rights conditions facing North Korean refugees before the U.S. Congress in 2005, [ [http://wwwc.house.gov/international_relations/109/pet102705.pdf House Committee on Foreign Affairs :: U.S. House of Representatives] ] and was recently featured in a lengthy article in Time Asia. His work has also been featured in numerous newspaper articles. [cite web |url=http://www.korealiberator.org/2004/12/30/the-korea-herald-on-tim-peters/ |title=The Korea Herald on Tim Peters |work=The Korea Liberator |date=2004-12-30 |accessdate=2006-07-09] By early 2006, Peters had become an outspoken critic of the UNHCR, [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/25/international/25nations.html Former Portuguese Premier Chosen to Lead U.N. Refugee Agency - New York Times ] ] [ [http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0601/13/i_dl.01.html CNN.com - Transcripts ] ] and of the U.S. State Department, which human rights activists accused of foot-dragging and reluctance to assist North Korean refugees hiding in Asia, despite the statutory requirements of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004. [cite web |title=Public Law 108-333, 108th Congress |publisher=U.S.A. Congress |date=2004-10-18 |url=http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=108_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ333.108 |accessdate=2008-06-21] Peters' public activism played a key role in the U.S. decision to admit the first six North Korean refugees into the United States in May 2006. [cite web |url=http://www.korealiberator.org/2006/05/06/us-grants-asylum-for-six-dprk-refugees/ |title=U.S. Grants Asylum for Six DPRK Refugees |work=The Korea Liberator |date=2006-05-06 |accessdate=2006-07-09]

Controversy

In something of a controversy, Peters has been accused of ongoing membership in [cite web |url=http://www.exfamily.org/the-family/Tim-Peters.shtml |title=Tim Peters Helping Hands Korea - member of notorious cult? |work=exFamily.org |accessdate=2006-11-08] , and was on open record [cite web |url=http://web.archive.org/web/20030731180440/http://www.newdaynews.com/crossfire/index.cgi/noframes/read/24240 |title=Tim Peter has FM status |work=NewDaysNews.com |accessdate=2006-07-09] as a member of the Children of God (a.k.a. The Family International) [cite web |url=http://www.xfamily.org/index.php/Category:Fronts |title=Front Organizations of The Family International |work=xFamily.org |accessdate=2006-11-08] . Peters continues to receive financial support from donations made through the Family Care Foundation (FCF) [cite web |url=http://www.familycare.org/network/p01.htm |title=Helping Hands Korea, Family Care Foundation |work=familycare.org |accessdate=2007-08-17] , which former members of the COG assert is an umbrella organization for charity fronts linked to The Family International, [cite web |url=http://www.movingon.org/documents/FamilyCareFoundation-TheFamilyCOG.pdf |title=Family Care Foundation and The Family / Children of God |work=MovingOn.org |accessdate=2006-11-08] [cite web |url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_of_God#Programs.2C_projects.2C_and_productions |title=Children of God / Programs, Projects and Productions |work=Wikipedia |accessdate=2006-11-08] a group with a tarnished record on human rights. [cite web |url=http://www.xfamily.org/index.php/Complete_Judgment_of_Lord_Justice_Ward#The_United_Nations_Convention_on_the_Rights_of_the_Child: |title=Judgment of Lord Justice Ward - The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child |work=xFamily.org |accessdate=2006-11-30]

References

External links

* [http://xfamily.org/index.php/Timothy_A._Peters Timothy A. Peters] — on xFamily.org


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