A lot of the basic human rights that we have, we take for granted, and most of us don’t even realize it. Yeonmi Park didn’t even realize that she had those basic human rights though, at least not while she was living as a citizen of North Korea. It wasn’t until her family was persecuted in their country, for what were considered crimes against the state, that she began to understand freedom and human rights.

Yeonmi Park is now an advocate, speaking up for the basic human rights of North Koreans and all humans in the world. Not only does she speak out about the atrocities that she and her family had to live through in order to gain their freedom, but she speaks out about the human rights violations that people all over the world are facing despite global sanctions and moral values that global citizens all hold. Park has spoken to audiences big and small on youngvoicesadvocates, global and local in an effort to raise awareness about the human rights violations that are being committed across the globe every single day.

During a speech to an international congregation, Yeonmi Park was able to reach the world, gaining an audience that was ready and willing to hear her story. In this brave speech, she spoke about the defection of her family from their country, their status as refugees trying to flee, and the crimes committed against them as they tried to reach safety and political asylum. All of these aspects play into her story of her fight for freedom and global understanding, because until those moments she didn’t know that these things were available to her, nor that there was any denial of her rights being committed.

In order to further promote her message and reach even wider audiences, Parks has penned a memoir, describing in detail her families trials and tribulations in fleeing North Korea. Even more important is the detailing of where she has come since then, the impact her story, and bravery in telling it, has made and the new role she has taken on. Parks didn’t have to step up to the global stage and be an advocate for the rights of others, but she has and its a role that she has done well. Her voice and story has made an impact in the human rights of other individuals that have, or are still in, the same place she was in when fleeing North Korea.

At a time when the world is seeing more refugees fleeing their homeland due to war, crime, and poverty, the experiences of this young woman remind us of the ways in which we can help people fleeing. Whether refugees are fleeing to work towards a better future or to save their lives in a country where the past no longer includes them, Yeonmi Parks is there to speak up for these vulnerable people that no longer have voices of their own. As the world focuses on North Korea more and more, Park’s fight for her people and their rights gains more attention worldwide.