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Statement by 7 NK Refugees
To Thai Police Authorities

To Any and All Who Will Listen

We are a group of seven North Korean women who have defected from North Korea at separate times, risking our lives in a desperate bid for freedom rather than to wait in passive resignation for either starvation or imprisonment in our homeland. We have arrived in Thailand today after a perilous trek of thousands of kilometers through China and Laos where our lives and freedom were in jeopardy at every turn. We are refugees under the provisions of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, as recognized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Immediately upon our arrival in Thailand, we are "presenting ourselves without delay to the authorities" of the government of the Kingdom of Thailand, a member of Executive Committee of UNHCR. We do so to seek humanitarian assistance from the Kingdom of Thailand in light of the Article 31 of the abovementioned Convention, which prohibits imposing penalties on refugees on account of "their illegal entry or presence in the territory." Our confidence resides in the King and People of Thailand for their long and internationally respected history of humanitarianism to refugee applicants. We sincerely thank them in advance for their vital humanitarian assistance to us in our plight.

Today we stand before you, driven together by a common desperation in the face of mortal dangers and vulnerability, to seek your authorization for movement without restriction and swift travel to a country that will accept us. We find it necessary to conceal our identities for fear of cruel repercussions to our loved ones who remain in North Korea. For the same reason, we respectfully request that our identities be not disclosed. Individual profiles are attached for your reference and kind consideration.

The single flame of hope that remains for us is a heartfelt appeal on our knees and with tears to the King and People of Thailand. Thank you, sir.

Kang Myong-hi
Chung Won-mi
Han Na
Choi Jong-ae
Kim Jung-ae
Lee Jong-sin
Ahn Hi

Note: To protect the safety of family members still living in North Korea, names of the 7 refugees have been changed.