The following appeal was sent to the High Commisisoner
today jointly by our group (LFNKR) and Tim Peters' Helping Hands
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
20 September, 2006
As you probably have been informed, seven North Korean refugees,
all women, have presented themselves to the police authorities
in Nong Khai, a border town in Northern Thailand, at 09:00 hrs.
Monday, 18 September in accordance with Article 31 of the 1951
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which prohibits,
among other things, the imposition of penalties on refugees based
on their illegal entry to a third country.
On arrival at the Nong Khai City police station, the seven refugees
were detained, questioned without the full benefit of a trained
Korean translator and then taken to a Thai district court. At
the district court a Baht 2,000 (USD $56) fine was levied on
each refugee specifically for illegal entry by Thai authorities,
took little note of the abovementioned Convention.
After payment of the fines by activists, the seven refugees
were transferred to the immigration authorities in Nong Khai
on the same day. The seven were moved once again the following
morning to the immigration authorities in Bangkok.
We believe that the detention and the levy of fines on seven
refugees by Thai local authorities is a clear and most unfortunate
violation of the abovementioned Convention by the Government
of Kingdom of Thailand, a member of Executive Committee of your
With this letter we request your urgent intervention for the
release and safe passage of the seven to appropriate foreign
authorities in Thailand as well as swift travel to the country
that agrees to accept them. Their individual profiles, a letter
of appeal signed by the refugees and the press release we prepared
on their behalf are herewith attached for your information.
Your attention and action on behalf of the refugees will be
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees
A-101, Nishikata HITEL, Bunkyo-ku,
Tokyo 113-0222 Japan
Helping Hands Korea