Tuesday for her work in promoting freedom and human rights for the citizens of
North Korea and the Sahrawi refugees of Western Sahara—the only colony in Africa
under Moroccan rule.
the North Korea Freedom Coalition and president of the Defense Forum Foundation
(DFF), was honored as the ninth recipient of the biennial award, which
recognizes individuals or groups that have contributed extensively to world
peace. Three of the eight previous recipients were later awarded the Nobel Peace
being notified of her selection. “It is a great honor to receive this great
prize even when I just did what I should do. Doing all that we can do for the
promotion of the human rights for North Korea and North Korean refugees
represents the conscience of the age.”
compulsion to help the suffering stemmed from an earnest prayer. “Years ago,”
she said, “I prayed that God would break my heart for things that broke His
defectors begged her in 1996 to investigate a political prisoner camp
in North Korea, where they claimed the government imprisoned tens of thousands
of people to maintain control.
Washington-based bipartisan group evolve into a human rights organization by not
only educating Congress on national security issues but also by promoting
freedom and democracy in nations known for human rights violations. According to
the DFF Web site, the transition in focus was because “the greatest threats to
the United States are always from regimes that terrorize their own
Korean political prisoner camps at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s
subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs. She not only testified in the
hearing but also personally hosted those first North Koreans who barely survived
harsh prison camps.
U.S.—from sex-trafficked women to diplomats once close to North Korean dictator
Kim Jong-il. Many of the refugees have testified in Congress, participated in
rallies, granted media interviews and spoken at conferences. She also has
assisted behind the scenes in the rescues of dozens of North Koreans who made
the dangerous trek across the Tumen River into China.
relationship with one of North Korea’s highest-ranking defectors, Hwang
Jang-Yop—a revered thinker in North Korea responsible for Juche theology. The
humanistic belief purports that man is the center of the universe. It grew into
Kim Jong-ilism, the worship of North Korea’s infamous dictator. “Yop knows my
Christian beliefs,” Scholte said. “I called on him personally to renounce the
ideology he founded and accept Christ as Savior.”
her surprise, he publicly published her appeal to receive Christ to all of his
Korean constituents. She said Hwang was deeply inspired by her faith, reminding
him of a 45-year-old experience he had of “beholding the deep, wide, and
magnificent beauty of the Geumgang Mountains.”
that lights the right pathway for the people, not letting them go astray.”
Africa. In 1994, the Muslim president of Sahrawi Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz,
gratefully received an Arabic Bible that Scholte gave him, calling it a “holy
Sharia law, or state-regulated Islam,” Scholte said. “The president has invited
Christians to plant churches in their country. It’s remarkable to have a Muslim
president call for open religious freedom in his country.”
allowed to drive, the Sahrawi Republic government believes in freedom of
religion and all their women have rights, vote and are involved in public life.
“The only way to win war on terror is to empower Muslims who believe in these
basic fundamental rights,” she said.
including former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former President Vaclav Havel of the Czech
Republic —C. Hope Flinchbaugh